Text: Matthew 11:2-30
Event(s): John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus; Judgment for unbelievers; Jesus’ prayer of thanksgiving
Matthew 11:6 “blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” John the Baptist (like many others) had expected the Messiah to arrive and establish a kingdom with judgment; but Jesus had come with the ministry of salvation and reconciliation to the Father. If we get too locked in to “how” we think God should answer our prayers, we too risk offense taking root in our hearts.
Matthew 11:11 “but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” John the Baptist was called the greatest because he was the forerunner for Jesus. He lived to prepare the way for the King and the kingdom which you and I would experience. Even though his part was great, to live in the kingdom that was to come was even greater.
Matthew 11:12 “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence” The kingdom of heaven experiences severe resistance; both externally, and as for the individual who wants to enter the kingdom of heaven, he/she must do so through violent effort. To bring all that we are under the submission of the Lordship of Christ is to rip ourselves away from the old way of life, and that will come with resistance. The good news is, Heaven calls us, the Holy Spirit enables us, His grace sustains us, but make no doubt, it is a fight.
“The upheaval caused by the kingdom of God is not caused by political provocation or armed advance. It is the result of God’s order shaking relationships, households, cities, and nations by the entry of the Holy Spirit’s power working in people.” Dr Jack Hayford
Matthew 11:25 “and have revealed them to babes” the least in the kingdom – those with childlike faith – are capable of receiving the greatest of revelations.
Matthew 11:29 “My yoke is easy, My burden is light” This verse has many applications, but first and foremost, it has to do with our relationship with Him. Though in this chapter, we’re read of violent force, spiritual warfare, the fickleness of popular opinion, and the religious spirit we often encounter, Jesus points out that when we’re in the Kingdom, His ways are not burdensome. There’s a level of freedom we operate in that should be evident in our life. By His grace, we are empowered to.
Today’s Takeaway: In the years I’ve walked with God, there have been times when doing the right thing or overcoming something in my life that I didn’t want there felt like a huge burden. It seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get passed it; I couldn’t get over it; I couldn’t break through the barriers of it. I’d hit a wall. I learned to recognize that when I’m feeling that way, it’s probably because I’m relying on my own strength, my own discipline, or my own planning and preparation to get me over the hurdle. Those things of course have their benefits, but learning how to take each day by day and hear me: learning how to access the DAILY grace of God is a much better way. I feel lighter, there’s not as much pressure, I don’t feel burdened and before I know it, I break through. I encourage you to try and make this shift as well. I like the way the Message Bible puts it: “…Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:30 MSG
Additional (optional) reading: The parallel accounts of these events can be found in the Gospel of Luke 7:18-35