Reposted from Pr. Stout:
(50 verses, 6:22 to read)
What I am about to READ
- In this reading, we can begin to see how frustrated and sad persistent unbelief makes Jesus.
- 1-5: Jesus teaches on the cause of suffering and tells all present to repent
- 6-9: Good works follow faith and Jesus is quite patient for this fruit to follow
- 10-17: Jesus heals on the Sabbath, shows His mercy for the sick, shows His authority over Satan, and shows His impatience and annoyance with the rulers of the synagogue
- 18-21: A parable that teaches on the humble beginnings and yet uncontrollable growth of the Kingdom of God.
- 22-30: We can only enter the kingdom of heaven through Jesus – the narrow door. The teaching from above (vs. 1-5) is expounded upon a bit. Repent now, not later. The door is open now. It may not be later.
- 31-35: Jesus weeps at unbelief
- vs. 1-5 are quite helpful because they answer these questions: What is the connection between my personal sin and my personal suffering? When I suffer, am I simply being punished for my sin? When I suffer, am I simply getting what I deserve? Answer: our Lord does not make a direct connection between our personal sin and suffering. All our personal sins have died with Jesus and have been declared to be removed as far as the east is from the west. How can we be punished for something that is not on us? Now, the Lord’s creation still does follow a created and natural order. If I pick on Mike Tyson enough, I very well might be punched. Thus, Jesus teaches them and teaches us that we should always “repent or perish.” However, when suffering comes, we can answer this question: Is God angry at me? Answer: No. God’s wrath was poured upon Jesus and God is at peace with you and can use this suffering to draw you closer to His grace and conform you to His image. Vs. 8 helps us understand even further what suffering is given to produce – endurance, perseverance, character & hope. The Lord wants a more fruitful tree and thus sometimes pours a big, stinkin’ pile of manure on it. “It’s filthy, but it produces fruit,” Augustine says.
- vs. 34 offers a great text to meditate on. It shows our Lord’s gracious desire to protect and shield every single person from Satan’s darts and the wrath they deserve from their sin. No one wants your daughter, your mother, your coworker, your spouse, your children or anyone else converted more than our Jesus does. You care and He cares all the more. You pray and He prays as High Priest all the more. You would rejoice at their repentance and He would call His holy angels to rejoice at their repentance. Our great comfort as we pray for them, speak to them, and love them, is that our Jesus is gathering us under His protection. He gathers to Himself and protects us from despair, temptation and unbelief, like a hen protects her children from the dangers that surround them.
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Pastor Christopher Stout