Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Matthew 11:20-30


20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 ``Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 ``Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 ``And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 ``Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.''

This cursing of 3 primary cities contains a remarkable prophecy. Jesus is condemning them to obliteration! It was in these three prominent fishing villages that Jesus performed most of His miracles, yet they rejected Him as the Messiah sent to deliver them. Since they had more light than most anywhere else and chose to reject this light from God, they will never be rebuilt again! Throughout history, although there have been serious attempts to rebuild these cities, they remain desolate today. Capernaum is a fascinating ruins that we visit, right on the Sea of Galilee. Bethsaida and Chorazin are up the hill away from the Sea a bit. Bethsaida is virtually unvisited and Chorazin is becoming more visible with some interesting ruins of people's houses from the 1st century.

25 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. 26 ``Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 ``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.

Jesus offers up a quick prayer, speaking of how the wise and intelligent (those who think they know and have it all) have not connected with the revelation of Jesus, yet the infants (those who have little, but are trusting) receive it freely. The key is how anyone receives the person of Jesus.

28 ``Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 ``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. 30 ``For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.''

Jesus now offers the most simple explanation of what it means to believe in Jesus' way versus the ways of the religious. Remember the call of Matthew that illustrated how it works? The whole world is out to try to make themselves right before God by jumping through all sorts of hoops. That's religion-trying to avoid going to hell-conduct life in such a way so as to be accepted by God. Jesus only requires a personal relationship with Him-"Come to Me." It's a relationship-been to hell and don't want to go back. Much of the hell we experience in life is trying to conduct our lives in such a way so as to be accepted before God.

Jesus invites all who are sick and tired and weighed down by all of the do's and don'ts of trying to be acceptable to God, to simply come to Him. Just come to Jesus and He will give you rest. He gives you rest in two ways-salvation rest (you are accepted by God just the way you are) and rest for your soul (stop the treadmill of stress). This is the most amazing thing ever! Jesus is the only one who can make you acceptable, simply by coming to Him. He'll do the rest!

You see, when you are called to be a disciple, you are called to rest. I am just now understanding this. Although I have known the grace of God, I have been frantically "doing" everything I could do to prove that I am acceptable. I have acted more like a human "doing" rather than a human "being." Jesus wants me to simply come to Him, take on His yoke and learn from Him, so that I will find REST for my soul. This blows my mind!