What I’m Thinking: Responsive

One of the things that marked Jesus’ ministry was his responsiveness to the needs of those around him.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the ninth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26). In this chapter, Jesus called a disciple, he settled an argument with some critics, a woman found her healing from him, and then Jesus restored a child to her family.

What connects these stories, other than the person of Jesus, is this question of need and responsiveness. In the first one, Jesus encountered Matthew, and Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors were ignored (at best) by observant Jews in the first century and for good reason. Jesus simply said come and follow me. Matthew did.

The Pharisees, or at least some amongst them, then wanted to know from Jesus’ disciples why it was that Jesus kept eating with people like tax collectors and other sorts of sinners. And Jesus’ response to them was essentially because it’s the folks who were in that kind of distress who need the attention of God’s messenger, not those who are doing OK.

Jesus was summoned to a house where a girl was at death’s door. Along the way, he stopped when a woman touched him because she also needed healing. She received it with the words, “Your faith has made you well.”

When Jesus arrived at the house, he found that they believed that the girl was dead. But Jesus went in, lifted her up, and restored her to her family alive.

In each of these stories there is an element of responsiveness, that Jesus is aware of the needs and the hopes, the illnesses and the vulnerabilities of the people around him, and Jesus went to respond, to heal, to raise, to call, to teach.

I hope that we can emulate some of that characteristic of Jesus in our interactions with those around us today. It is so easy to ask the questions, “Why is somebody hanging out with the wrong people?” when it’s the wrong people who are in those situations and need help. Need help. Like a woman alongside a road desperately reaching out and touching a cloak. Like a set of parents who don’t know what else to do except to summon this strange preacher and teacher who’s come wandering by. Like a tax collector mired, one expects, in some despair at the loss of his community, suddenly summoned to a new life and a new hope when Jesus came by.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Send me an e-mail or leave me your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on June 5, 2023

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