Mattthew’s gospel begins this week with a story of unbelief. Those you would expect to receive Jesus reject him. They also rejected John the Baptist before him. Yet, prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners believed in him and they also believed in John, Jesus says.
Faith in Jesus doesn’t come from holding places of privilege and power, or from great learning.
The Old Testament offers a wonderful reading from the Book of Numbers.. It’s about Balaam, a foreign prophet, who’s offered handsome pay if he will put a curse on the tribes of Israel. Instead, Balaam, “whose eyes are true, who sees what God sees and knows what God knows,” blesses the tribes of Israel.
He promises a “star shall rise from Israel and a staff should appear from Jacob.”.
Even his donkey gets it right. He won’t take Balaam to the place where they want him to curse the Israelites. Is that why t a donkey appears at the manger in Bethlehem?
Beautiful illustration from the Middle Ages. The donkey won’t budge..