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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Susan Hanson

Sunday, December 5

[T]he blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.
—Matthew 11:5

Nothing will remain as it is—that’s the Advent message in Matthew’s account of the Gospel. Jesus himself will make the same observation later on in his parable of the vineyard: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Lest we get too hung up on specifics—and yes, Jesus did do the things he promised—what Matthew is really talking about here is radical change. Leprosy, blindness, deafness—in Jesus’ day, these weren’t temporary conditions; once a person was afflicted, he typically remained so for life. 

The idea, then, that an individual could be cured was astounding. Add raising the dead and bringing good news to the poor, and we have quite a list of impossible feats.

And yet, that’s exactly what Matthew foretells. In the new age that the Messiah would usher in, the old assumptions simply wouldn’t apply. Why not imagine the lame walking? Why not envision the deaf hearing and the blind seeing again? Why not think of a world in which the poor would be given hope and the lifeless, breath? Why not believe that God has the power to resurrect our own tired hearts? 

Nervous with expectation, we dare to admit that we do.

O God, who desires only what is good, help us to be open to your healing grace, and make us agents of change in the world.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2004.