Matthew 8:19, Then a scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go."

Matthew 12:14, But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

Israel reacted to Jesus. We react to Jesus. You react to Jesus. At issue is not, "Will we react to Jesus?" At issue is, "How will we react to Jesus?"

Assume the Jewish scribe heard Jesus' sermon and witnessed his acts prior to declaring a desire to follow Jesus anywhere. Remember, this educated, specialized, informed man was knowledgeable. Perhaps he was inspired by Jesus' sermon in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. Perhaps he was in the multitude who witnessed the leper cleansed, the paralyzed man restored, the sick healed, and demons cast out. He was impressed! Boldly he announced to Jesus his willingness to follow Jesus anywhere!

There are no assumptions about what the Pharisees witnessed--they heard Jesus and witnessed his miracle. However, they focused on the wrong thing. They did not see Jesus' miracle because they were blinded by when he did it. Blinded is too weak a word--they were obsessed with when Jesus healed the man with a withered hand.

They were absolutely certain Jesus was wrong! He could not possibly be right! These genuine experts in scripture knew Jesus could not be right! Devotion to God's will demanded they expose Jesus for the "masquerading fraud" he was! Were not the Ten Commandments explicit about keeping the Sabbath day holy? How could someone speak for God and dishonor the Sabbath?

In an attempt to expose this "fraud," they asked Jesus if it was in agreement with the Law to heal on the Sabbath. Their conviction: healing on the Sabbath was in violation of God's Law if the healed person's life was not in immediate jeopardy.

Jesus answered by restoring the man's withered hand to a functioning, healthy hand. After healing the man, Jesus said, "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day."

The scribe heard and saw Jesus and wished to follow him. These Pharisees heard and saw Jesus and wished to destroy him. Both heard, both saw, and both reacted. Yet, the reactions were opposite. The scribe was attracted. The Pharisees were repulsed.

Jesus does not specialize in telling us what we want to hear or in "performing" for us. Jesus tells us what we need to hear and does what is in our eternal best interest. If you are around Jesus long enough to hear and observe, you will react.

You will react because Jesus will (1) tell you how to be the human God envisions and (2) how to surrender to God's purposes. Not only does he tell us, but he also shows us. Being the human God wished cost Jesus his life as he surrendered to God's purposes. However, that was fine. He focused on the eternal, not this world. Where is your focus?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 21 March 2004

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