Rejecting the Real Jesus
Expectations. Expectations. Have you ever gone to a dinner party, thinking it was casual attire, and everyone but you was dressed to a T – the men in suits and ties, the ladies in evening gowns and high heels? Or perhaps you were set up by a friend on a blind date, and this friend raved about this cousin of hers, so you expected the date to go well. But instead this date, if you could call her that, was neither attractive nor interesting.
In the early first century, the time when Jesus lived, everyone in Israel had expectations. They had expectations about the Messiah, the One who would come into the world. Some had a highly militant portrait in their minds; a Caesar of sorts. Others expected that the Messiah would act like a holy man and in righteousness proclaim God’s judgment upon evildoers.
John the Baptist and his disciples fell into this second camp. John, a preacher of fire and brimstone, expected that same heat from our Lord. He expected that, as the Messiah, Jesus would judge lawbreakers like Herod. John was likely fine with Jesus the healer and Jesus the Savior. But it seems, he began to wonder where the justice and judgment were. Now in prison and soon to die for proclaiming God’s righteousness and the coming Messiah, John wondered where the ‘axe’ (Matt. 3:10a) was and when Jesus was going to start swinging it.
Matthew 11 opens then, with John the Baptist, the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, at one time very supportive of Jesus, but now filled with doubts and, even offended by some of the things Jesus has said and done. So he sends him a message and says to Jesus, ‘Are you really the One, are you the Messiah, or should we look for another?’ And all the rest of this chapter is Jesus’ response to John’s doubts, questions. In essence, Jesus said, “Tell John not to feel slighted by what I’m up to, for ‘blessed is the one who is not offended by me’ (6). He can trust me. I’m the one. I’m the right guy.”
The section we will look at on Sunday is Matthew 11:16-24, in which Jesus continues his response to John. In this passage Jesus will address the issue of why so many people don’t believe him; why so many reject him. Though the word is not mentioned in this portion of Scripture, Jesus will deal with the matter of unbelief. He will talk about the nature of unbelief; its power, character, and ultimately, the solution for unbelief. What about you? Have you rejected the real Jesus for one of your own making? Are you willing to believe the real Jesus?
Join us this Sunday as we talk about the bad news and the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Will you invite someone to come along with you? Will you pray for our service? Will you pray for one another? It is with great expectation that I look forward to being with you this week in worship. I delight praising our Lord with you.
Remember: This week we meet in the Senior Center located at the Gardendale Civic Center.
Love in Christ,
Dates of Note:
- August 20: Worship service will be in the Gardendale Senior Center (located next to the civic center)
- August 20: SS workers orientation @ Chad & Kelley’s – time: 5:00-7:00
- August 27: Tom Franklin, Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) minister at Birmingham Southern College will be our guest speaker
- September 3: Bible Study (SS) begins
- September 10: Fellowship luncheon following morning worship service and Officer Training begins