One of my all-time favorite characteristics of missional Jesus emerges in our next passage, Matthew 9:32-34:
1. Missional Jesus attracts those who are possessed by evil — the way flames attract moths.
2. Missional Jesus, therefore, attracts folks who know that Jesus can heal them. So, Jesus is surrounded not only by the needy but also by mediators of those in need.
3. Missional Jesus can flat-out cure folks.
4. Missional Jesus is opposed by the religious authorities: to the degree that they call him demon-possessed. (By the way, this is labeling to the extreme: a manifest good is called bad in order to seal off the labeler from Jesus and to make Jesus a source of danger for anyone who wants to be attached to him.)
While they were going out, a man who was demon–possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”