Devotion and Prayer for Week of September 9, 2012

Meditation for the Week of September 9, 2012

What does it mean to be an Expert?

 “And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’” (Mark 7:37)

 There is an old saying that an expert is anyone who is more than 50 miles away from home.  The idea expressed is that in your own home, your own town and in your own family, you are just plain old, Tom, Mary, Jim’s son or Susie’s daughter.  In your hometown or in your family they all know your good points and your bad points and it is hard for them to accept that you may be smarter or more talented than everyone else.

This is especially true of people in small towns.  If you grew up in a small town, you know what I mean.  Everyone in town knew you by sight and if you messed up, someone told Mom or Dad.  And no matter how smart and successful you became you were always know as Ronnie or Jimmy.  If you doubt me, think about President Ronald Regan who grew up in Dixon, IL and President Jimmy Carter who grew up in Plains, GA.  I know this is true in my own family, my cousins and extended family never refer to me as Pastor; they always call me by first name.  They marvel how when they are at special church celebration that everyone else refers to me as Pastor and not by name.

Jesus encountered this same attitude and difficulty in his ministry.  Whenever he was in Nazareth and the area right around Nazareth, it was difficult for people to think of Jesus as anything other than Mary and Joseph’s son, whose brothers and sisters still live here among us.  The locals could not comprehend Jesus as a great teacher, a prophet, a healer. They especially could not grasp the idea that Jesus, this boy who they saw grow up was in fact God’s promised Messiah, was truly the Son of God.

An expert, a prophet, a messiah has to be someone who is 50 miles from home.  Our text noted above is the reaction of some people who were not from Nazareth. They had witnessed Jesus heal a deaf and mute man.  In fact it is believed that many of the people including the healed man were not Jews.  Jesus was visiting an area populated by many non-Jews and the manner in which he healed the man was consistent with how he acted when surrounded by any gathering of both Jews and non-Jews.  The people saw Jesus take a man who as a result of an illness or accident had lost the ability to hear and also then speak intelligibly.  They saw Jesus stick his fingers in the man’s ears and put his own spit on the man’s tongue and say to the man “be opened!”

Amazingly the man was opened, his ears once again could hear and now he could speak clearly so that everyone could understand him.  And the crowd was astonished beyond measure – they were amazed – they were stunned and they proclaimed Jesus to be an expert, someone who does all things well.  Notice they didn’t quite catch on to the fact that God was present among them.  They didn’t really understand what they had seen and heard.  In that way we are all too often like the people that day.  We see the glories and miracles of God displayed before us each day and we fail to recognize the action and working of God in our lives.  We say nature had a beautiful sunset, or the doctor did a marvelous job of healing us, the pharmacist and therapists were wonderful or we have the good luck to have great genes and so we never get sick.  These are not chance happenings, they are by the will and way of God acting in our lives and we should be astonished beyond measure at how God does all things well.

Instead of complaining about the things that ail us we should look to the gifts and goodness God has given to those who believe in his son, Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and know that he does all things well.


Our Weekly Prayer

O Lord God, how quick we are to complain, how quick we are to attribute your work and actions to the realm of nature, science, luck or other factors. Open our eyes, our ears, and our minds to see, to hear and to know the greatness of your actions in our lives.  Above all, help us to see your expert for our lives, your Son Jesus Christ, who with His life, death and resurrection has done everything necessary for our salvation.  He has given us forgiveness of sins, the promise of life eternal and lives with us and within us every day, truly he has done everything well.  Thank You Lord for all your mercy, love and grace to me, this I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.