Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 7 - Matthew 11

Today's reading in our daily plan is Matthew 11. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Jesus finishes up teaching his disciples to go out and share the good news, and then goes himself to teach in the towns around the lake. Some disciples of John (the one who baptized Jesus) come and ask if he really is the Messiah. John was in prison at the time, and perhaps his circumstances were leading him to doubt. Jesus responds by recounting his actions, that he had been doing miracles and preaching to the poor.
  • In the next section Jesus picks up a theme he had talked about in the previous chapter, that on Judgment Day it will be more bearable for cities from the Old Testament times who ignored God and did horrible things (cities such as Tyre and Sidon) than for the cities who ignored Jesus' teaching and performing of miracles.
  • The chapter ends with Jesus telling his audience that the way to know God is to come to him. Jesus must reveal the Father to people.
  • The amazing thing is that when people come to Jesus (as the only way to know the Father) what they find (verses 28-30) is someone who is gentle and humble and offers rest to those who have spent their lives striving. A "yoke" (verses 29 and 30) was a wooden harness for farm animals to help them pull a load. Yokes would often harness two animals together so they could move together at the same speed and in the same direction. Jesus invites people to be yoked to him.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • A major theme in this chapter is how we respond to Jesus. John responded with faith, but had some doubts and questions. He asked them, and Jesus answered. Some will respond like Chorazin and Bethsaida by rejecting Jesus, and so they in turn will be rejected. And some will seek the Father, and Jesus will reveal him to them.
  • Jesus' invitation to us is into relationship. A relationship where he treats us with gentleness and humility, and where we walk and work together.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • How have you responded to Jesus? Not just way back in your life, but lately. Do you have some doubts and questions? And, if so, do you bring them honestly to God? Or have you been rejecting him, perhaps in obvious ways or maybe in more subtle ways? Are you going to Jesus seeking the Father? How could you, this week, really seek to have Jesus reveal the Father to you?
  • If you consider yourself to have a relationship with Jesus, what does it look like? Do you feel like he is gentle and humble with you, or harsh and overbearing? If harsh and overbearing, that's not really Jesus. Do you walk and work with Jesus, or are you more doing life on your own, thinking you have a relationship with Jesus when maybe it's not really much of a relationship? Consider memorizing Matthew 11:28-30 to help you.