As a child, I always loved newspapers. While I was a student in a Lutheran elementary school, I decided to try to begin a school newspaper. However, upon bringing this idea before my principal she recommended that I produce a proposal. Whether it was my primary school aged hubris or pure inability to imagine a universe where my ideas didn’t work, I put little effort into the proposal, and it didn’t work out. Today I am not a journalist for any well-known newspaper however, I do take with me those basic questions of journalism into my biblical studies: Who, What, Where, When, Why. As we consider some of the words of Jesus I want to focus on that last question of journalism in particular: Why.
Why in our text does Jesus heal the blind and lame? On the one hand, we are thoroughly aware at this stage of Matthew’s gospel that Jesus has the ability to heal the sick in ways others could not. We may even be tempted with our entertainment saturated environment to read such words with a yawn because we’ve seen it before. However, this text is not about entertaining us, but about revealing who Jesus is as the Christ. We must remember that there are no empty miracles in the life of Jesus. Each miracle functions like a billboard pointing to Jesus’ status as the Christ. We remember how the Lord Jesus pointed to His miracles as a verification of His identity as the Messiah (cf. Matt. 11:3-4). They were proofs or evidences of His words and identity (cf. Acts 2:22).
So, as we consider Jesus’ actions at the Temple of cleansing and healing in Matt. 21:12-17, what we are meant to perceive is that the King has come to His throne (cf. Hag. 2:9; Mal. 3:1-2). Even the children assembled at the Temple recognize this as they join in the praises singing, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (v.15 ESV) Yet we still find a group hostile to the praises and actions of King Jesus: the chief priests and the scribes, which leads us to our second “Why” question.
Why do the religious leaders respond in anger? Matthew tells us that at the works of Christ, and more specifically at the praises of the young boys, “[the religious leaders] were indignant” (Matt. 21:15 ESV) When was the last time you were indignant? There are times when such anger is appropriate: moments of injustice, failure, suffering, and even when we observe others marring the Name and Word of God. But such indignation, vexation, or irritation ought never be found when God is at work redeeming the world.
The religious leaders responded in anger when they should have broken out in joy. The Lord Jesus saw right through their religious façade. For this reason, we find Jesus’ harshest rebukes being aimed at these religious leaders, especially in Matthew 23:25. The error of these leaders consisted in their demand for God to abide by their standards, and remaining unteachable when challenged. Such a mindset is the product of a lifetime of choices and habits which established a trajectory for their lives; a trajectory which led to their doom.
What is your life’s present trajectory? Is it such that when Jesus returns in power and glory that you will rejoice with the children singing, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” or will you grit your teeth with the scribes and priests? Beloved, does your heart long for the coming of our great King who is the eternal Son of God? May we always be willing to be teachable at the feet of Jesus and be redirected by His Word and Spirit that our trajectory may lead us into His gracious arms in that Heavenly city.
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