“And when the demon was cast out and the mute spoke, and the multitudes marveled saying, ‘It was never like this in Israel.'”  Matthew 9:32

“But the Pharisees said, ‘He casts out demons by the ruler of demons.'”

“And in them the prophesy of Isiah is fulfilled, which says:  Hearing you will hear and not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive…”  Matthew 13:14

Filter – to slow or partially obstruct the passage of

You’ve heard it said that “perception is reality”.  However, what is actually meant would be the more accurately stated:  Our perception determines our reality.  Then, based on that last statement, our behavior is then determined based on our perception based reality.  Understand this, we all do it.  We all have filters by which we experience things and then determine their meaning.  Actually our filters are very needful and potentially helpful things.  They can allow us to avoid potentially harmful and dangerous situations without having to actually experience the situation in the first place.  They can also allow us to see a new situation as an opportunity and thus we can take advantage of it although we may not have ever been in that specific situation before.

So where am I going with this?  Jesus becomes a “situation” on earth.  In the truest sense He is a physical reality.  As a physical reality He does things.  In the circumstance quoted above in Matthew, Jesus is healing people, allowing the blind to see and, by casting out demons, allowing a mute man to speak.  People are seeing this happen; they’re experiencing the miracle in their midst; and then their filters kick in.

On the one hand you have the filter of the masses, the “common folk”, if you will.  You see that had lived for a while.  They had their religious leaders  who had power.  Perhaps they had even seen persons before who claimed to be a prophet, maybe even the messiah.  And of course they had seen or at least knew people could be blind or mute.  Yet in all their experience or even in the experience of those they had heard about in Israel, nowhere had the seen or heard about a man who could make the blind see or the mute talk; and then their filters clicked in.  As far a learned people were concerned these were not.  The only knowledge of the scriptures would come from what they heard preached at the temple or perhaps what was told to them, handed down by their parents.  They were not scholars in Mosaic law as the religious leaders would have been.  So the outcome of their filtering of the situation is they marveled.  In a seemingly positive way they proclaimed that nowhere before had these marvelous things been done by anyone.

On the other hand, remember seeing the same physical reality that the masses had witnessed, the Pharisees had a completely different filter and thus a very different reaction.  First these were men in power, besides the outside induced Roman power, they were amongst the highest legitimate power in their society.  Second, they were learned men.  They had access to the scriptures themselves and the knowledge to read and interpret them.  Yet with all their power and all their learning; they could not come close to wielding the power that this, seemingly itinerate preacher from a far off speck of a town could wield.  Their filter saw Jesus as a threat.  Their filter said to them, that they were good, God fearing people and if they could not heal like Jesus did, could not cast out demons like Jesus did, then Jesus power must not come from good; but must be a greater power of evil.  Jesus must be a ruler of demons.

Again why is this important?  Remember we today, all of us have filters too.  We decide to read the scriptures or not based on whether we believe, whether our filters tell us they have any value in today’s world.  Should we decide that they do have value, as we read the scriptures; we filter what we read, what we believe based on our filter about what is possible by the Power of Almighty God.  How we approach faith, prayer, worship, love are impacted by our filters.

Finally and this is vitally important to understand Dear Sisters and Brothers; our filters are not in the strictest sense our own.  For in the parable of the sewer, Christ talks about the wicked one coming and snatching the word from the hearts of some.  The Prince of this world Satan, can add things to our filters that clogs the true meaning and love from making it through our filters.  Conversely, he can rip our filters wide open so that a flood of earthly messages stream through along with and drowning out the message of Christ.

Yet there is One promised who is more powerful than Satan.  One who will reside in our heart and manage our filter to allow in the message of Christ and keep out all others.  That One is part of the Triune God; the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is promised as a Helper to come and reside with us and “guide us into all truth” (John 16:13).

Thus, going forward we must understand about our filters.  We must know about the power that they have their ability to be flawed.  We must not trust them should they be leading us down a path that is different from the scriptures.  We must study and pray diligently for indwelling of the Holy Spirit and be open to the Truth that He will speak to us.  In the world, we filter our water with the belief that the purest water is the best for our being.  Let us strive to align our spiritual filter through the Holy Spirit to the True Word of Our Heavenly Father so that our true being and the life that we lead in that being would be pure as well.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are a people of imperfect judgement because we see things through flawed eyes.  We confess that we use our own filters to decide what is right and wrong sometimes leading to decisions and actions which are sin.  Forgive us Most Merciful Father and strengthen us in Your Truth through the Holy Spirit who will block the influences of the evil one and lead us to the True path of Jesus Christ.  Give us a yearning in our heart to study and ponder Your Word and be in prayerful relationship with You always.  That our perception and reality would be based on the Word of Jesus Christ causing our behavior to be of praise and honor to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen