The angels called Him Jesus, Mary called him Jesus – but I call him Lord.
I am overcome by a sense of worship – bowing low before the “Lord”, “Jehovah”– “I AM”– “Before everything and after everything” – I look up and see a bright shining light rising up and up lighting up even the mountains and then I feel as if I am being lifted like on the wings of an eagle into this light, into His Presence.
“Yes Ian, in the presence of My great worth it is appropriate that you declare that. That you feel that, that is why you have been made. I receive your worship – you are precious to me just as every other saint is precious to Me. I hold you tight in Jesus – you are safe and secure in Me – your feet on the Rock. Allow yourself just to appreciate Me and feel My Presence here in the room with you – this is just a tiny foretaste of what it is going to be like when you come home into my Presence. Experience My joy – receive it and express it. Amen”
Moving into ch 11 of Matthew, we first have the story of John the Baptist. (Just a little side morsel of interest: My father’s name was Johannes and everyone knew him only as “Doper” – Baptiser). I think the story of John here is summed up in vs 13 John was the last in the line of the OT prophets. Just as Jesus stated in ch 5 that He had come to fulfil the law and the prophets, so John comes completing and ending the role of the OT prophets. To underline that, he is persecuted and put to death just as many of those prophets had been treated.
However there is a connection here also with the instruction by Jesus to take the message of the gospel out. This is confirmed by the rest of the chapter. As we take out the gospel, what sort of response are we to expect? Surely such a precious message, a pearl of inestimable value will be gladly grasped by everyone. Jesus warns that is not going to be the case.
People create their own expectations of what God is like. Just as some children want to play weddings and others funerals, so people who hear the gospel will find fault with the Jesus you present. Ascetic and self sacrificing? No . Normal and behaving like any ordinary person? No.
The explanation comes in the next paragraph. It is necessary for Jesus to reveal Himself v 25 before He is seen and accepted. These wonderful truths are hidden from those who have great worldly wisdom and say they are following Him in their way with a preconceived idea of who He is and what He is like. A God made in the image that suits their ideas. 1 Cor 2 from vs 6 describes that in detail. We see that played out even today where books are published by theologians and experts in the bible where they express all sorts of doubts and theories which take away the very nature of the gospel, while the simple, ordinary people accept it without question when they meet Jesus face to face.
This, like so many other truths of the gospel is perhaps difficult to understand yet can and should be accepted at face value. Our role is for us to accept and then repeat the beautiful invitation in vs 28. “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”. The deep realization of your need is a prerequisite for receiving everything that Jesus wants to offer you. Just as He said in the beatitudes, blessed are the poor in spirit, that is those who realize their need and hunger and thirst, they will be filled. They will receive what Jesus died to give us.
Is that how you experience the gospel? Is that how you and I are to present it? Like offering water and bread to one crawling out of the wilderness where they have been lost for ever. It is not up to us to force a response. That comes from Jesus and we must expect much rejection, but never take it personally. Remember last week, “Who do you fear most?” But we can and must keep praying for Him to open the eyes and ears of those we speak to and be faithful to Him in all circumstances.