Summary: His recovery was amazing. An answer to prayer! I introduced myself. He looked at me, recognised who I was immediately, and said vehemently, "I’m an ATHEIST and I intend to stay that way!" His response to Christ as he had faced the possibility of death was
Part 8 - Matthew 12:22-28 - I’M AN ATHEIST AND I INTEND TO STAY THAT WAY!
He was wide eyed but unable to speak properly. The nurses told me that he did not have long to live. Brian (not his real name) was experiencing spasms of pain and shortness of breath. He was groaning, and looked weak, drawn and afraid. I offered to pray for him. I prayed for healing and encouraged him to reach out to Christ and seek to have a relationship with Him. I told him that Christ would be able to help him get through this situation.
The next day I came in to see Brian again. I asked the nurses how he was and they told me he was much better. I was surprised that he was able to speak again. His recovery was amazing. An answer to prayer! I introduced myself. He looked at me, recognised who I was immediately, and said vehemently, "I’m an ATHEIST and I intend to stay that way!" His response to Christ as he had faced the possibility of death was to REJECT Him. I said that this was his choice but that I hoped he would come to know the Lord.
It’s not unusual that the crowd is amazed as Jesus heals a demon possessed, blind and dumb man in Matthew 12:22, but it’s that TOTAL REJECTION of Jesus by the Pharisees (and Brian) that surprises me the most.
The Pharisees response to Jesus is vehement and MALICIOUS. Not only do they REJECT Jesus but they proceed to SLANDER His name before the people. They say in Matthew 12:24 (NLT) "No wonder He can cast out demons. He gets His power from Satan, the prince of demons."
Why are they saying this? Why aren’t they willing to examine things further? Is it that they are afraid of losing their REPUTATION? Is it because they want to hold onto their POWER and already feel that it is slipping away? Perhaps.
On the news last night TERRORISTS bombed a group of people who did not practise ISLAM in the traditional way. The Pharisees are like that (If people don’t agree with your traditions, killing them is always an option). They behave like RELIGIOUS THUGS! The intensity of their unbelief is incredible. It has already expressed itself as they plotted to kill Jesus (Matthew 12:14)! They are obstinate, pig-headed, determined, inflexible, unmoved, stubborn and persistent leaders. The kind of political leaders we still revere in many parts of our world today.
The Pharisees did not actually see first hand Jesus heal the demon possessed, blind and dumb man. That’s not surprising. When I DISTANCE myself from Jesus I will rarely see His miracles, even when I hear about what God is doing in the lives of others who have had a personal experience of Christ. Like the Pharisees I will not be satisfied or happy for the man who has been healed, even though his life has been CHANGED FOREVER. It is only as I am willing to place myself in PROXIMITY to Jesus and see Him for who He is that I begin to acknowledge, like the crowd, the possibility of Him being the MESSIAH, more than a man, the One sent by God to save me from my sin.
In psychology, PROJECTION is a defence mechanism where a person denies what is happening in their own lives, attitudes, thoughts, and emotions, and then ascribes them to other people. Perhaps the Pharisees are demon possessed themselves and being BLIND to this, they PROJECT what is happening to themselves onto Jesus. John the Baptist calls them a BROOD OF VIPERS in Matthew 3:7 who are resistant to REPENTANCE.
In Matthew 5:20 (NLT) Jesus says "But I warn you-unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!"
The man who was healed was BLIND AND DEAF. The Pharisees are BLIND AND DEAF themselves to the things of God and need healing. John 12:38-40 (NIV) says "...For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: "He has BLINDED their eyes and DEADENED their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them." Like Brian they say, "I am blind to what Jesus has done for me and I intend to stay that way!" My Dad used to say "There are none so blind as those who will not see!"
God bless you Church as the Lord opens your eyes to His truth and as you intentionally remain open to Christ and what He wants to do in your life today.