Thursday, December 5, 2013

Matthew 11-12

Matthew 11:1-19 - Rest From Doubts

Jesus continued to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee, but His ministry had increasing opposition.  While John the Baptist was in prison, he heard what Christ was doing.  He send word by his disciples to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" - Matt. 11:3.  Why would John ask this?  Perhaps he thought God had forgotten him and that Jesus would come and rescue him.  Maybe he thought Jesus would rise up as a political king.  He was probably depressed and kept in a dungeon and even tortured.  Doubts may have set in.  He didn't realize this would be so hard.  He is like people today with confusion and doubts when times get hard.  When we doubt, we should bring it to Jesus just as John did.  He understands and will be there to assure us.  Jesus answered by pointing John to the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament telling him Isaiah's words were being fulfilled and that Jesus was the one.

Are there times when you doubt?
Did you take your questions directly to Jesus?

Isaiah's prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus' ministry:
Isaiah 29:18-19 - The deaf will hear, the blind will see and they will rejoice.
Isaiah 35:5-6 - Again the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be unstopped, the lame will leap, the mute will shout for joy.
Isaiah 61:1-3 - He preached the good news, bound the broken hearted, comforted the mourners.

Jesus told the crowd that no one was greater than John.  "Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." - Matt. 11:11.  John was the greatest because he was chosen to testify to the world about the coming of Jesus, but in heaven the lowest ranked person is greater than John because Jesus saved them from their sins.

Principle:
God reveals Himself and removes doubt as we sincerely seek Him in His Word.

Matthew 11:20-30 - Rest From Rules

The people in the cities of Galilee heard Jesus' teaching and saw His miracles, but they did not repent.  Jesus compared them to Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom.  These were sinful cities God brought great judgment on in the Old Testament.  The Galilee cities would experience greater judgment, because had Jesus and witness His miracles and still did not believe.  They needed to confess and believe if they wanted eternal life.  How scary!  We today have the whole story of Jesus and how He forgives, yet people today still do not repent.  If people do not repent, their judgment will be even greater than the Galilee cities.

The Bible has warnings and rules, but rules are not where salvation come from.  It's all about the heart.  We worship God because He has given us grace.  He reveals Himself to us not because we deserve Him, but because He loves us.  We are to worship Him and Him alone.

Jesus gives us a beautiful invitation in Matt. 11:28-30 - "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, 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."  He promises to  give us rest, if we lean on Him He is always there to help, comfort and guide us when we are down or stressed or overworked.  When we let go of our control and lean on Him, that's when we get rest.  A yoke is used to direct oxen.  His yoke directs us.  Follow Him and He will direct you.

Principle:
True rest is found only in Jesus Christ.

Are you tired of trying to fit into a mold that God never meant you to be in?
Do you let Him guide you and give you rest?

This doesn't mean you will never get tired serving Him.  There is nothing more fulfilling than to be weary in service for God.

Matthew 12 - Eternal Rest

The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by attacking His disciples.  They accused them of breaking the Sabbath when they picked grain to eat.  Jesus points out examples of David and his men when they ate the consecrated bread on the Sabbath when they were hungry.  He also pointed out the priest did sacrifices on the Sabbath yet were innocent.

Jesus also healed a man on the Sabbath which the Pharisees questioned.  Jesus said it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. (Matt. 12:12).  Jesus saw human suffering and did not worry about people pleasing.

The Sabbath is all about being with Jesus.  It was not about rules, but about spending time with Jesus.  They lost sight of the dos and don'ts and forgot about mercy.  The Pharisees then went out and plotted how to kill Jesus.

Jesus then healed a demon-possessed man.  The people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" - Matt. 12:23.  When the Pharisees saw this, they said it was by Beelzebub, the prince of demons that it was done.  Jesus knew their thoughts and said, "If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself." - Matt. 12:26.  Jesus calls Satan "the strong man" and those under Satan's control his "house". 

Jesus talks about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a sin that will not be forgiven.  What is a sin against the Spirit?  It is the sin that continues to reject the Spirit.  He always forgives when we repent, but it you do not repent and believe then that is a sin against the Holy Spirit.

We must all give an account on the day of judgment for every careless words we have spoken. (Matt. 12:36).  Our words are so easy, but so powerful.  Words are what is in our hearts.  Words can acquit or condemn.   Ask God to show you where your words need to change so they will not come out again.

The Pharisees ask for Jesus to show them a sign that He was from God.  Jesus said they were wicked and adulterous for asking.  He used the sign of Johan being in the fish for 3 days and the future sign would be Jesus' resurrection in 3 days after His death.

Jesus said if we get rid of evil or sin in our hearts and replace it with nothing, then it comes back even stronger.  We need to replace it with God. (Matt. 12:43-45).  You can't take a neutral position.  To be indifferent is to be against Jesus.

Jesus invites you to be part of His family in Matt. 12:46-50. 

Principle:
Those who follow Jesus are part of His family; those who reject Him are excluded.

Do you have the privilege of being in God's family?
How do your words show you are a part of His family?

See you next week for Matthew 13.

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