first this appears to be a strange connection of events; but perhaps not as
strange as at first glance.
– its basis
Mat 11:20-24 NIV
Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been
performed, because they did not repent. (21)
"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were
performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented
long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (22) But I
tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment
than for you. (23) And you, Capernaum, will
you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you
had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. (24) But I tell you that it will be more bearable
for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
it is a maxim of law that “ignorance is no excuse,” we are partial to the idea
that those who hadn’t a clue should face a lighter sentence than those who were
knowledgeable. So is our Lord. The pygmy who has never heard the word should
be judged on what he knew, not what he didn’t. But what about us? Are our
circumstances the same? Let us explore this by questions.
were you taught?
of us have the benefit of growing up in a church family. We went to Sunday
School; we sang “Jesus Loves Me.” Does this not imply a greater judgment at
our Lord’s return?
the teaching is not in the classroom, but in the example before us. It may be
nice to have a grandfather who was a preacher; but did you walk in his
example? If you’ve seen it done right, were you taking notes?
most telling of all is this: what did people expect of you? Did those around
you expect sterling conduct? It’s a good measure of justice, that. We know
who should behave themselves; indeed, the expectations of others are often a
strong support of good behavior.
did you say?
own words set a standard of judgment; they also can be evidence against you.
all hypocrites.” At least, then, you admit that you know what a hypocrite
is, and condemn same. But if you act the hypocrite, is this not a greater
judgment on you?
evil is just another chance for God’s grace and goodness to abound.”
(Yes, there are people who are like that.) God will forgive; it’s his
hobby. Even you don’t believe that. You certainly wouldn’t accept this
as truth from somebody else.
people in this church have such puny faith.” It is not their faith that
is in question; their lack can never bring God to be faithless. His
faithfulness is sure; theirs is really not your affair; you have enough
trouble with your own. (I sure do.)
did you see?
often think that if we could just see one solid, genuine miracle our faith
would instantly become a solid rock. Remember the Israelites under Moses: a
string of miracles and a people with no real faith.
however, our problem is not in what we see – it’s in our refusal to see. For
we fail to see the sin in our own lives – or in the lives of those we
we fail to see the signs of the times? The warning lights flash; do we
heed them or try to beat the train to the crossing?
ignorance is not only no excuse; it is folly.
for the Weary
Mat 11:25-30 NIV
At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed
them to little children. (26) Yes, Father,
for this was your good pleasure. (27)
"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son
except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom
the Son chooses to reveal him. (28)
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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
a look at what Christ praises the Father for. It seems rather odd, that the
“wise and learned” should be allowed to be ignorant. But there is an important
thought in here:
“wise and learned” are those who consider themselves self-sufficient in
dealing with God. Since they are of that opinion, God humors them in
this. The wisdom of men is available in great quantity; all you need do
is study. It’s only when you admit you can’t know it all that God will
graciously reveal these things.
who are not self-sufficient must perforce rely on God. They have no
choice – but God knows that, and pours Himself into them.
this praiseworthy? It is for the God who makes the blind to see. He needs no
learned scholar to tell Him what is truth – but rather pours out truth to all
who will listen.
things are committed
now reminds his hearers of just who He claims to be. See how Paul puts it:
Col 1:15-20 NIV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16) For by him all things were created: things in
heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers
or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (17) He is before all things, and in him all things
hold together. (18) And he is the head of the
body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so
that in everything he might have the supremacy. (19)
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, (20) and through him to reconcile to himself all
things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through
his blood, shed on the cross.
is worth remembering that Christ has all authority, and in particular no one
comes to the Father except through the Son. If Christ doesn’t reveal the
Father to you, there is no hope of your getting through. He is the way, the
truth, the life. So, should we prepare ourselves for an arduous struggle to
prove ourselves worthy of such access?
you see the apparent contradiction: Getting to the Father comes only on the
narrow way – but if you will come to Christ the burden will become much
lighter. How so?
are lighter when carried in love. Ask the average OC Republican just how
burdensome is the welfare for an unmarried mother, and you will find it
greatly so. But if that mother is your daughter, the child your
grandchild, is it really so burdensome?
easier to carry a burden for which Christ has made you strong. To give a
simple example, the first time you do a hospital call is an emotional
experience. But after a while, you become a welcome visitor – and one who
fears the visit far less.
we’ve had a problem that we now discover in someone else. Because of our
experience, we can bring comfort to others. Often, there is someone
available to comfort us, too.
invitation issued, we see one who will take Christ’s offer with her whole
Luk 7:36-50 NIV
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to
the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. (37)
When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was
eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, (38) and as she stood behind him at his feet
weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her
hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. (39)
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If
this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of
woman she is--that she is a sinner." (40)
Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said. (41)
"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred
denarii, and the other fifty. (42) Neither of them had the money to pay him back,
so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" (43) Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had
the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said. (44)
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?
I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet
my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. (45)
You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not
stopped kissing my feet. (46) You did not put
oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. (47) Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for
she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (48) Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are
forgiven." (49) The other guests began
to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" (50) Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has
saved you; go in peace."
have gone from the worldly knowledgeable to the worldly woman – a woman whose
sins are before her. Most ancient writers agree that the expression given here
means that the woman was a prostitute.
The reaction of the Pharisee is much more common than you might think.
should we see in others?
you ever thought of this? We can deliberately refuse to see something in
someone else. Why? So that our understanding is greater, and our love too.
Paul put it this way to the Corinthians:
1Co 2:2-5 NIV
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him
crucified. (3) I came to you in weakness and
fear, and with much trembling. (4) My message
and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a
demonstration of the Spirit's power, (5) so
that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
we might make the simple observation: we are all sinners. Just who did we
expect to come through the church door? We need to see the inside, the heart,
not just the exterior.
of the debtors
I point out something about the lender? It’s clear he has written these two
off – they’re never going to have the money. But see; the greater debtor –
whom the lender had more right to despise – will be the greater friend. That
is how God does it; perhaps we should imitate Him in this.
my privilege to work in a ministry (Bill Glass) which goes into the prisons of
America to bring the Gospel. I’ve noticed something; the most effective
speakers are those who’ve been on the other side of the bars. The man who has
been there and repented means a lot more to the prisoners.
there is greater forgiveness, there is greater love. Taken to its logical
conclusion, we have the actions of this woman: devotion. This is that rare
act of devotion. From the world’s point of view, what she is doing is wasting
perfume. It’s just not a practical thing to do.
however, is not what she had in mind. It’s an extreme act, a devotional act –
and not just in money. Her pride, her dignity, her life are being poured out
before Christ. She could have given less.
But she broke the jar open and poured all out upon her Lord. The broken jar
shows us the broken heart.
devotional life, the totally committed Christian life, is extravagant living