(The Story of Jesus)
If you have to force someone to like you, is it a healthy relationship? If you have to force a situation to be resolved by either bullying people or doing nothing and walking away, is it truly resolved? Does peace reign? If we try to run God’s church like a business, is that what He wants? If we serve so we can get something we want, is that the way Jesus thinks?
All these thoughts come to mind as I read between the lines at Jesus’ frustration with humans then and now. Jesus has to explain who John the Baptist is and his purpose on earth…to prepare the way…and they still didn’t get it, even though Jesus, the Son of God!, is revealing Scripture to them with His own life each day! Are we this dull-headed, too? Sometimes.
Matthew 11, Msg:
“Are you listening to me?” “Really listening?”
“How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents. ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.’ John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they call me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of hte pudding is in the eating.”
“Next Jesus let fly on the cities where he had worked the hardest but whose people had responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going their own way.”
“Doom to you, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida! If Tyre and Sidon had seen half of the powerful miracles you have seen, they would have been on their knees in a minute. At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you And Capernaum! With all your peacock strutting, you are going to end up in the abyss. If the people of Sodom had had your chances, the city would still be around, At Judgement Day they’ll get off easy compared to you.”
FRUSTRATION LEADS TO PRAYER
“Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer. ‘Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.'”
JESUS’ MOOD SHIFTS AFTER TALKING WITH THE FATHER
(A lesson in itself!)
“Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. ‘The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of the Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.”
JESUS SAYS COME WITH ME…LEARN THE RHYTHM OF GRACE!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do 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.”
As a musician of sorts, there is nothing more painful than playing your instrument while the rest of the orchestra is off the beat. Or, maybe I’m off the beat! I cannot force the rhythm, it comes by watching the Conductor and being lead by Him. From Him comes the unforced, rhythm of grace. Then the music is played perfectly.
Dear Heavenly Father, We have our own frustrations that lead us to cry out. We learn from Jesus that we must come to You first, in the middle, and last to resolve these frustrations. We are off beat in those times and need you to get us back in rhythm. We long for your unforced rhythms of grace to be our lifestyle. We love you. We want what You want, for Your ways are perfect. Lead us on. Our instruments are ready, our eyes fixed on you!
In Jesus Name, Amen