God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

October 12 - Matthew 11: God's Way Makes Sense Only to Those Who Obey

Today’s Reading: Matthew 11

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God reveals His Way to those who will enact it, not those who will dissect it.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

John sent disciples to question whether Jesus was the Messiah. This was Jesus' answer: many people taught and healed.
Jesus chastised the crowd, "John was called a religious nut. I am considered too worldly. Why so fickle? God's Kingdom's inhabitants put John to shame.
"Evil cities of old will have punishment easier than yours because they would have listened."
Jesus thanked God for showing His Way to ordinary people.
"Let Me tell you about the Father. Are you at the end of your rope? I will give you rest. Work for Me. I will assign only what you can handle."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Jesus' proof to John was examples of God's Way working.

John's disciples may have been expecting a long oration of how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of old, how He taught the right doctrine, or how He kept His Will under check to God's Will. Instead, Jesus showed John's disciples how He worked. That was His message to John. Jesus' Message is best communicated by people seeing it work.
If you want to help set many people's relationships right with God, show them how God's Way works. Set things right within the church and in your life. Then they will know Jesus is the Messiah.

Tyre and Sidon would accept their punishment easier than the cities that saw Jesus at work.

Tyre and Sidon were guilty of terrible sins against Israel. Yet Jesus said they would receive less punishment than the people who saw Jesus working. What that means exactly we do not know. I personally think it means Tyre and Sidon would have a slight consolation, "At least we did not reject the Son of God!" and kick themselves ever so slightly less. What we do know is that people who see God setting things right have no excuse—they either must set things right or be punished.

God's Way is a paradox—only those who do not analyze it will understand it.

Jesus' prayer is somewhat strange,
Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work. (vv. 25-26, The Message)
But in reality, I understand what He means. Ordinary people listen to Jesus and try to obey them (Yoda excluded). Sophisticated know-it-alls dissect, analyze, search out the hidden meanings, and spend so much time getting to THE meaning of the text they have no time or energy to set things right. This is the paradox of obeying God—to truly understand it you must first obey. Only then does its intricacies and layers upon layers of truth bubble up. If you want to understand God, obey Him.

Jesus shows the True Nature of God.

God is not a fire-breathing, lighting-throwing, smiting God. God wants the tired, the overworked, and the ones who can't stand "organized religion" anymore. He wants them to "Learn the unforced rhythms of grace" (v. 29). Learning to live God's Way frees and lightens our psyches to set all things right. The True Nature of God is not a religion. The True Nature of God is natural grace which freely gives blessings to every person.

Are you seeking to obey God's Way or dissect it?

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