2007-03-18_Come and Learn_Matthew 11_SL
Come and Learn
Matthew 11 | Shaun LePage | March 18, 2007
A. The history of God’s work on earth is a series of difficult decisions for those who were called. God called. Men and women responded.
1. Many chose poorly: Adam & Eve. Cain. Pharaoh. Solomon. Judas.
2. But, many others chose well:
a) Abraham chose to leave the home of his father—not knowing where he was going.
b) Moses—at the burning bush—chose to take God’s message to Pharaoh. Later—Dt 30:19.
c) Joshua: “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve… Jos 24:15.
d) After all of them became widows, Naomi told her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, to return to their homeland. As Orpah turned to go, the Scriptures tell us Ruth “clung to Naomi” and said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ru 1:16).
e) When Jesus walked by the fishing boat of a father and his two sons and said to the sons, “Follow Me,” James and John had a tough decision to make: Follow Jesus or stay in the family business with their father. Matthew tells us they “immediately” chose Jesus.
f) When Jesus walked by the desk of a wealthy tax agent and said, “Follow Me,” Matthew walked away from great wealth to do exactly that.
B. Matthew 1-10—Jesus presenting Himself to Israel as King. Ch 11 begins His rejection. But it’s much more: It is our call. Jesus calls His listeners to a decision. After all the miracles of Mat 8-9 that clearly demonstrate that Jesus is God and Messiah. After the great call to discipleship in Mat 10—including promises of great persecution as well as great reward—a decision must be made.
II. Body—Matthew 11 (read one section at a time)
A. Jesus corrected John’s misunderstanding of Messiah’s plan. (1-6)
1. (1-2) John’s situation: imprisoned by Herod (chronology—about a year! more when study Ch. 14); What did Jesus do? Continued to “teach and preach” (v.1). John expected action! Choosing Twelve apostles, sending them out, teaching and preaching—disappointed John.
2. (3) John’s question: “Expected One” (Messiah)? Contradict 3:2: “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”? No. Shows John’s humanity (not sinless)! Expected judgment (Is 35:4)—discouraged. Disciples needed to see this after 10:22. Even the strongest have doubts, need encouragement.
3. (4-6) Jesus’ answer alludes to Is 35 & 61—Messianic prophecies! Clear: I am the Expected One! But v.6 gentle rebuke—didn’t answer all questions, but He was clear about His identity.
4. Will you let God be in charge? The “blessing” Jesus promised was to those who trusted Him with the future. Don’t get tripped up by what you don’t know. Take comfort in what you do know: Jesus is the Messiah—Son of God. His plan and timing is best.
B. Jesus clarified the crowd’s confusion about Messiah’s prophet. (7-15)
1. (7-10) John’s disciples left. Crowd look stunned? They loved John—best of Israel. Great prophet had doubts? Discredited? If so, Jesus’ words would change all that—don’t think bad about John! “Go out to see?...Reed shaken by the wind? (weak, fickle, indecisive person)? Not John! “Soft clothing” (self-indulgent)? Camel’s hair! “King’s palaces”—cut for John’s oppressor. “A prophet...even more!” First true prophet in centuries and THE prophet! Mal 3:1
2. (11) None “greater” than John? Greater than all prophets—the forerunner of Christ. Mal 3:5-6. “Least in the kingdom of heaven is greater.” John said the kingdom was coming. Those in the kingdom will declare greater news—the finished work of Christ—and enjoy it!
3. (12) “Violence”? Translation? NLT: “And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.” Thomas Constable: “Probably Jesus meant that the religious leaders of His day were trying to bring in the kingdom in their own carnal way while refusing to accept God's way that John and Jesus announced.” (soniclight.com, Matthew, p.162).
4. (13-14) All pre-announcing was done. John should be the last—“if you are willing to accept it”—and, of course, Messiah he announced—prophecies would be fulfilled (Mal 4:5-6); if not, another “Elijah-like” prophet would be sent in the future. Perhaps “two witnesses” Rev 11.
5. (15) “Ears to hear”?—write: Will you listen to the truth? Will you “accept” that John was “Elijah” and therefore, Jesus is the Christ? 10:41-42—will you receive and follow?
C. Jesus rebuked the crowd’s childishness toward Messiah’s wisdom. (16-19)
1. (16-17) Illustration: Children not pleased by anything. Critical of everything.
2. (18-19) Jesus explains: “John—a demon…Son of Man—gluttonous, drunkard, friend of sinners!” All childish, inconsistent criticism—eating and drinking has nothing to do with it! Just shows they don’t really want to play the game—don’t really want to believe! Don’t really want to listen to the truth! “Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds”—the truth will come out!
3. Will you respond with maturity? Will we make excuses and avoid the truth (e.g., just not sure; don’t need to be radical; not led, etc.); or will we believe and follow?
D. Jesus denounced the crowd’s apathy toward Messiah’s miracles. (20-24)
1. (20-24) Point: Some (e.g., these cities) had seen Jesus’ miracles firsthand. They would be held to a higher standard of accountability. Note: implies levels of punishment in “Hades” (hell). Rebuking another type of response: indifference—either salvation offer or discipleship call.
2. Will you repent of your indifference? “Tyre, Sidon and Sodom” would have repented had they seen what Jesus did. Implication is we have greater revelation—more accountability. Hell will be full of those who were indifferent to the message of Jesus.
E. Jesus revealed the Father’s grace in Messiah’s revelation. (25-27)
1. (25-26) Negative switches to positive. Jesus prayed! “Wise and intelligent” is derogatory for those who think they know it all, but really know nothing. Point: The Father hides truth from the proud, but reveals deep, spiritual truth to the humble—those who come to God in child-like faith. This is “well-pleasing” to the Father. Remember 9:12,13? Also 1 Cor 1:26-31.
2. (27) Enormous theological truths: About Jesus—the only way to know God (outrageous claim for just a man). About us—only know God if “the Son wills to reveal Him” to us.
3. Will you praise God for revealing Himself? Humble yourself before Him. Be patient in evangelism. Be radical in discipleship—as a show of gratitude.
F. Jesus illustrated the believer’s rest in Messiah’s invitation. (28-30)
1. (28) Invitation a huge contrast to Jewish leaders! To “come” is to trust Jesus—not self or Law (Mt 23:4; “weary”!). Never trusted Christ? Come! Rest! (Leads into ch.12—Sabbath).
2. (29-30) “Take My yoke”—discipleship; learning God’s will from Him. “Yoke” for two beasts of burden—side by side. If we “yoke” ourselves with Him, He carries the burden. [Pilgrim]
3. Will you rest in His will for your life? The message—once again—is trust. Will you trust His will—His way? He will give you rest—spirit rest. Trust Him for eternal life and then trust Him with every day in this life.
III. Closing: This is a moment of decision. Jesus is extending an invitation: “Come to Me…Take My yoke”. Not sure about God’s plan? Let Him be in charge. Confused? Listen to His truth. Childish in dealing with truth? Face it like an adult. Apathetic? Repent and be not indifferent. Arrogant about your knowledge of God? Humble yourself and praise God for revealing Himself. Tired, busy, burdened? Trying to get through life with Christ? Rest in His will for your life. Quiet time to respond.