Springboarding off of the Apostle Paul’s life focus, clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:2, Pastor Greg launched an “open-ended” message series on January 12th, 2020 – focusing on “Just Jesus.” He is walking us through the entire New Testament, pulling passages from the Old Testament for context, and keep us focused throughout the year on “Just Jesus.”
This is week 51, Matthew, part 40 in the series. Today’s message covers Matthew 11:15-30. Pastor G talks about Jesus speaking to the crowd about impending judgment for rejecting Jesus as their Messiah even though He showed them many miracles as proof. Jesus also makes His claim as the Son of God crystal clear to the crowd and invites them to know God through Him.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear. ~ Matthew 11:15
It means, I’ve just said – OR I’m ABOUT to say – something spiritually profound. Pay attention. If you are guided by the Holy Spirit, you will understand the deeper thing being said by my analogy, parable, metaphor, etc. If you have spiritual ears, spiritual discernment, you will get it. If you are not in tune with the wisdom that only the Holy Spirit can give, you will miss the deeper meaning of what I am saying.
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ ~ Matthew 11:16-17
Jesus, our God in the flesh, has been calling people to follow Him. To follow His example. To be like Him in their actions, words and thoughts. Be more like our Creator. But, like self-centered children without spiritual wisdom, Jesus says the adults of His generation who are encountering, first John, and now Jesus, are never satisfied. It is an egocentric generation that shouts “It’s all about me. Hey John, the greatest human prophet of all! Hey Jesus, Messiah, Son of God in the flesh! We want You to behave the way we want You to act. We want you to speak the way we want you to talk. We want you to be like us instead of us becoming like You Jesus, our Creator God.”
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” ~ Matthew 11:18-19
John was too stern and too austere and too separated from the people. Jesus went to weddings and parties too much and didn’t play the hypocritical games most people played. The people complained about BOTH of them and, like spoiled brats, whined when they didn’t get their way. That sounds like a pretty apt description, not just of Jesus’ generation, but every other generation that has ever lived, including our own. Yeah? Amen? People, for the most part, are never satisfied and usually tend to think their way is the only right way. Their opinion is the only valid opinion.
Jesus says on the end of this observation, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
skill or wisdom or intelligence
to make righteous, to defend the cause of, to plead for the righteousness (innocence) of, to acquit, to justify, to vindicate.
a child, a descendent, an offspring, an inhabitant, a deed or a result of someone’s actions, something created by one’s actions.
Wisdom is vindicated, proven to be true, correct, by what the principles of wisdom actually produce. Jesus says, “Wisdom (My wisdom) shall be proven to be valid by the results it produces. My wisdom will stand up to any test. No matter how much you accuse me or what I teach, all will be acquitted, justified, vindicated in the end.”
Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which he had done many of his miracles, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. ~ Matthew 11:20-22
Jesus had performed many miracles in Chorazin and Bethsaida. He had thought many messages in these Israelite towns. Still, even as He fulfilled prophecy and performed miraculous works they rejected Him.
woe – a primary exclamation of grief or misery
Tyre and Sidon are both ancient Gentile cities of Phoenicia. The Old Testament has several prophecies against Tyre and Sidon that correctly predicted a complete overthrow of them both. Jesus says, if the Gentile, wicked cities of Tyre and Sidon had been given the same opportunities you have seen, if they had seen the same proofs of miracles that you have seen even THEY would have turned from their wickedness and been saved. Even without your history and knowledge and experience of the Hebrew God. The Israelites of Jesus’ day believed themselves to be righteously following God, yet they did not recognize God when He was staring them in the face, living among them.
And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” ~ Matthew 11:23-24
Capernaum is mentioned MANY times in the Gospels. It is also along the coast of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus performed MANY healings and other miracles there and it served as a kind of headquarters for Jesus’s ministry. Of all the towns of Israel, Jesus says, He tells them unless they repent and receive Jesus for who is claiming and revealing Himself to be, they will not be “ascending to heaven.”
ASCENDING TO HEAVEN
A well-known Hebrew expression referring to the utmost prosperity and the enjoyment of the greatest of privileges. Kind of the way we would refer to the upper crust.
Jesus says the opposite is coming their way if they do not repent. Both literally and figuratively they will Descend to Hades instead of Ascend to Heaven. Jesus says, even the incredibly, famously wicked city of Sodom, where God could not find even ten righteous people, Sodom would have repented if they had seen and heard and experienced everything of Jesus that the people of Capernaum had seen.
…From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. ~ Luke 11:48b
At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. ~ Matthew 11:25-26
Jesus’ use of the term those who are wise and intelligent is sarcastic in nature. He’s talking about those who are full of themselves with arrogance. Those who can be too smart for their own good. Great human intelligence and knowledge unfortunately comes with the temptation to excuse away anything a person does not like or prefer. Their arrogance acts like blinders and they are unable to recognize the truth, even when it is staring them in the face.
In this way, because of their arrogance, God sometimes hides what should be obvious from those who are too full of themselves, too convinced they are god themselves, to entertain the notion of their true Creator in Jesus. In a sense, God makes it even harder for them to understand what they choose not to understand in the first place. It is a form of God’s judgment. This is similar to how after Pharaoh mocked and challenged God, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart during the Exodus so he would definitely not repent until his judgment was complete.
Then, contrasting that, Jesus also says God the Father reveals what is obviously true to “infants” or “little children.” He often encourages us to become like little children as we approach God. He wants us to have child-like faith. Essentially this is a poetic way of saying be adults who recognize we don’t have all the answers. Always approach God and the things of God with humility, an awareness of our own LACK of knowledge, understanding and intelligence compared to God.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ~ Hamlet
All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. ~ Matthew 11:27
Jesus gives us a PROFOUND promise of Good News. If we aren’t careful we can miss it, read right past it. He says “[no one can ]know the Father except the Son, AND the only one who can truly know the Father is the Son, AND ALSO, anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. What does that mean?
Jesus has the ability AND the authority to reveal the Father to anyone He chooses. BEFORE Jesus, it was IMPOSSIBLE, for you or me to know God. NOW, THROUGH Jesus, we can know God as we are fully known BY God. WHOOP GLORY?!?!? This was a PROFOUND shift in the development of human beings. Now, for the first time ever, it was possible for us to know God in a personal, intimate and familiar way. The way we know our friends and family.
I and the Father are one.” … do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” ~ John 10:30, 36-38
If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” … I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me … The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. … Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. ~ John 14:7, 9-11
Jesus says to the crowd that He has just scolded and confronted with their sinfulness. “Look. Let’s be clear. You are in a tough spot because of your previous sinful decisions. You have really blown it. On your own you are in big trouble. But listen, don’t miss this.” “Listen. Listen. Not all hope is lost. There is still a way OUT for you. Even better than that. There is still a way FORWARD for you. I am that way. I am here and I am ready and able to reveal My Father, your Creator, to you. I have true wisdom, true knowledge, true intelligence and I want to reveal it to you if you come to Me with child-like humility and faith. I am offering you a way back to right standing with God. This gift comes to you, only, through me. As I reveal myself to you, you will also come to know the Father. So, I’m inviting you, I’m encouraging you, you, I’m imploring you, to say yes to me while there’s still time to save you from your sins.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30
Anapausis (GREEK NOUN) and Anapauó (GREEK VERB)
the feeling we have when we can finally stop doing hard work. That ahhhhhhh feeling you have when you can finally drop the weights you’ve been dragging and sit down. Jesus is also talking about an inner rest, tranquility, peace.
Jesus says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving. He wants to trade yokes with you. He wants to trade burdens with you. Let Him carry your load for you. Believe in Him. Recognize Him as your God. Trust Him. Follow Him. Stop trying to do life on your own wisdom, on your own power. He will reveal Himself to you His little children.
Oh the other hand, if you reject Him and His incredibly generous offer, He will stay hidden from you. If you stay puffed up and arrogant, thinking you have all the answers and deny the existence of anyone smarter than you, even an omniscient Creator, then you are heading to an eternity without Him. Like Chorazin and Bethsaida and Tyre and Sidon and Capernaum and Sodom you are heading for judgment. That is NOT what Jesus wants for you. That’s not what Jesus wants for anyone He created.
Jesus …desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ~ 1 Timothy 2:4
That’s why He is gentle and humble in heart. That’s why He offers to carry your burdens for you. He loves you and has your best interests in mind, always. Only through Him will you fully overcome this weary and heavy-laden life we have here on our broken planet earth. Only through Him will you find true rest for your souls. Amen?