Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 26: Matthew 11:20-30 & Psalm 26 - Why Do Some People Get it While Others Don't?

Today's reading: Matthew 11:20-30 & Psalm 26

Get the full reading plan

Why Do Some People Get it While Others Don't?

 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 
yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. - Matthew 11:25-26, ESV

Today's reading begins with harsh words of condemnation and ends with gentle words of invitation. The great, prominent, influential cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum are condemned by Jesus for their stubborn refusal to acknowledge His kingdom despite abundant evidence. Then, those who "labor and are heavy laden" are gently invited to come and find rest beneath the yoke of Him who is "gentle and lowly in heart." 

Do you ever wonder what makes the difference between the two groups? Why did these cities see the signs and wonders of Jesus and yet reject Him, while the common laboring people had eyes to see and ears to hear the call of Christ?

Well, we don't need to wonder or speculate because Jesus tells us plainly. Right between the words of judgment and the words of gentle invitation, Jesus praises God for His "gracious will" to reveal the truth to "little children" while hiding them from "the wise and understanding." Just so we don't miss it, let's consider exactly what Jesus is saying:

1. It's never a lack of information or evidence that keeps someone from Jesus. The cities Jesus condemned had all the evidence they could ever hope to have.

2. Power and influence can't buy you an entrance to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus does not seek out the rich and powerful, looking for their resources for His kingdom. 

3. It's not being poor and weak that makes the difference, it's the gracious decision of God to reveal Himself, There's nothing special about poor and weak people in themselves either. It's God's self-revelation and His eye-opening grace that saves.

If you know the Lord, praise Him and give Him all the honor! It wasn't your wealth, influence, power, intelligence or insight that brought you to Christ. It was the grace of God, from beginning to end!

Prayer based on Psalm 26:

Psalm 26 in many ways seems like the opposite of Psalm 25, at least when it comes to prayer. We can easily pray Psalm 25 word-for-word from our hearts. Psalm 26 seems impossible for us to pray for ourselves. Claiming to be innocent and pure is impossible for us. Instead, we should see this prayer as a prayer of the Lord Jesus, reflecting the prayers during His earthly life:

"In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence." - Hebrews 5:7   

In Psalm 26, we can see:
1. Christ's innocence and faithfulness.
2. Christ's trust of His heavenly Father.
3. Christ's love for the church.
4. Christ's plea for deliverance from a death like the wicked (vv. 9-10), which is what He faced.

Hebrews 5:7 says that Christ's prayers were heard. The evidence that Psalm 26 was answered and that Christ was redeemed from death is the resurrection.

If we are in Christ, we can pray Psalm 26 in Christ, claiming Him as our justification, our faithfulness, our innocence, our deliverance.

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