Matthew 9:27-34 (CEB): As Jesus departed, two blind men followed him, crying out, “Show us mercy, Son of David.”
When he came into the house, the blind men approached him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe I can do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they replied.
Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “It will happen for you just as you have believed.” Their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly warned them, “Make sure nobody knows about this.” But they went out and spread the word about him throughout that whole region.
As they were leaving, people brought to him a man who was demon-possessed and unable to speak. When Jesus had thrown out the demon, the man who couldn’t speak began to talk. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
But the Pharisees said, “He throws out demons with the authority of the ruler of demons.”
Healing and betrayal. That’s what I see in today’s reading. I’ve never looked at it this way before today. I’ve always thought that the people who betrayed Jesus were the disciples. You know the scene in the Gethsemane garden? That’s what I think of. But when reflecting on this passage, I see now that Jesus was betrayed all the time. He told those blind men, ‘Make sure nobody knows about this.’ And what did they do? They betrayed him - ‘But they went out and spread the word about him throughout the whole region.’ Now, some have said that Jesus did this intentionally. Like when we’re told not to do something, the first thing we want to do is that very thing we aren’t supposed to do! Therefore, the thinking goes, since Jesus knew this about people, he was intentional in telling people not to spread the word. But I don’t see it that way. I don’t think Jesus was in a hurry to be tortured and executed. I see it as one of the many ways that people betrayed him. At the crucifixion, they probably (the ones with hearts of compassion) felt the sting of the cross and the embarrassment of his words of forgiveness. They probably realized that they were the ones who got Jesus arrested and killed. Their guilt of betrayal would be heavy indeed.
But, there is another type of betrayal here. And that’s the betrayal of people not telling others about what Christ has done for them. This is the type of which, I think, a lot of us are guilty of now. That is, with all the plurality in the world (and, let’s be honest, there has always been plurality of religions), some of us don’t really want to talk about Jesus and what he means to us and what he’s done in our lives. I understand this completely. I’ve been guilty of it myself. But recently, I’ve been a little convicted about it. Why should I keep silent about what Christ has done for me? A lot of it comes from the type-casting, the profiling, the religious intolerance towards Christians that is so prevalent right now. I know, some people don’t see this. And others see that some Christians are the ones who are the most intolerant of other faith traditions. And, let me be clear, that should not be heard of from Christian people! But at the same time, it seems that all Christians are judged by those few who are not following Christ’s example of Love and respect and mercy and non-violence. And it’s because of this, that a lot of us, including myself, have not been so outspoken in my faith. It is in that regard that I feel that some of us have betrayed Christ. We have been silent when we have needed to be speaking out. Our silence has given strength to those who name the name of Christ but seem so full of hatred and intolerance.
We can no longer remain silent. We must stand up for what Christ has done for us. We must stand up to the bullies, the haters, the greedy, the violent, the intolerant, not only for those outside of the Christian family (and according to Paul, we shouldn’t really be judging them anyway), but we should be speaking out against those within the family of Christ.
Every day, all day long, Christ is betrayed. And the betrayal comes from us - members of his own family. Whether we act in ways of violence and intolerance or we are silent to the injustices around us, we betray Christ. These things should not be so, my dear friends. We are to be Christ to those we meet. We are to seek Christ in them. And part of this means that we speak up about what Christ has done in our lives. We must shout from the rooftops of God’s mercy and Love for all people. That God has reconciled the whole creation back to Godself and brought peace through Christ’s blood on the cross (Colossians 1.19-20 CEB).
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br Jack+, LC