Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Fresh Studies in Matthew, Matthew 11:7-14
These are probably some of the most poetic but also scathing words of Jesus. Tim Keller has a good sermon (podcast) on this passage. What did you go to gawk at? Jesus asks. John was far more than you realize. This generation (which means more than a group of people bounded by birthdates) is fickle and childish. They are fussing at each other over trivial and stupid matters, and they are as unsatisfied with an abstemious prophet as they are with a Savior who reaches out to humans in human ways. We don’t want either. We are a child in a bad mood not getting his way and rejecting both options his parents offer him.
(I am reminded of liberals and secularists who try to argue their points by appealing to Jesus. They don’t want to follow Jesus but they will cherry pick his words when it suits them. I am sure Jesus is pleased by their condescension and approval.)
The fact that Jesus was rejected by some because of his humanity is interesting. Wisdom is vindicated—proved right—by the deeds that come from it. In other words, ideas have consequences, so the consequences give us the indication of the validity and truthfulness of the “wisdom.”
Everything Jesus said was not “nice.” We don’t get a nice Jesus. So “nice” is not the ultimate standard, not a deal breaker, not a voting issue as we used to say in the debate circuits. Like most women of my generation I have lived too much of my life with “nice” as the criterion, afraid of “offending” someone but not so much out of concern of causing harm to them but from fear of losing something—respect, a job, an opportunity.
That’s a pretty tacky reason to be “nice,” because (1) it doesn’t work, and you can’t control other people’s perceptions and reactions, and (2) it’s ultimately all about “me.” Nice doesn’t cut it. Truth in love cuts it, filtered through good manner and civility.
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