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Dec 7 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Sixty-two – Matthew 21:12-17

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

And the blind and lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?”
And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for Yourself’?” Matthew 21:14-16

The critics of Jesus made no effort to restrain their anger and contempt. On different occasions they accused him of blasphemy, violating God’s law, and being in partnership with demons. Jesus knew what it was to be the target of others who turned their malice on him. They vented their misery on the Lord as if he were the cause of it rather than the cure.

Righteous people–religious people–and professional clergy “became indignant” when they “saw the wonderful things He had done.” Some of us find it difficult to connect with these people. We feel more like the dying thief who said, “We are receiving what we deserve . . ., but this man has done nothing wrong” (Lk. 23:41). Sadly, there are too many believers who are very like the chief priests and scribes–easily angered and quick to express it.

Jesus was not affected by their anger nor did he throw it back at them. He let himself become their target. When he spoke, it was in defense of others–people in need who came to God’s house of prayer and were being exploited, the blind and lame who came to him to be healed, and the children, who once again enter the story to show adults the way to live and behave before God.

It is the beauty of Your life, O Lord, that makes us love You and long to know You more and more. We are fascinated by the restraint You showed with those who abused You, Your willingness to put up with their cruelty, and, at the same time, Your unrelenting compassion for the sinners, the disabled, the outcasts, the children, and for us.

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