Worse Off Than Sodom

What’s the worst thing that could happen to you? In Matthew 11:20–24 Jesus takes the judgment that fell on Sodom, and warns that the inhabitants of Sodom will be in a (relatively) better position in the day of judgment than those who reject him.

Responsibility accompanies privilege. The towns of Galilee witnessed Christ’s powerful works. Much of Jesus’ ministry had been focused in Galilee. The miracles of which Jesus speaks are specifically works of power. As Jesus overcame blindness, healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead, the dynamic power of his kingdom confronted and overcame the kingdom of darkness and its effects. These miracles were powerful enough that, had they witnessed them, the inhabitants of the notoriously wicked cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom would have repented. (These words are spoken by the One who is the God-man, and knows all things.) Those cities were wicked, and had experienced God’s judgment. These inhabitants of the towns of Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had witnessed these miracles. Their failure to turn from their sins and acknowledge the messianic King made them liable to judgment.

Continue reading
Posted in Reflections | Comments Off on Worse Off Than Sodom

Go, and Tell John

How can you be sure you have a genuine article? Matthew 11:1–15 tells us that John the Baptist had a similar concern—and it ought to be yours as well.

Don’t fall away. John was perplexed. Matthew sets the scene. After instructing his disciples Jesus was preaching in the towns of Galilee. John the Baptist, who had heralded Christ’s coming, and who was now in prison because of his pointed preaching to Herod, sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if he is really the coming One. John may have been discouraged with his own imprisonment. More likely, he was concerned that Jesus Christ didn’t seem to fit the model he had of the coming Messiah. John had spoken of an ax at the root of the trees, and the dead wood being burned in fire. The coming Messiah was to baptize, not with water, but with the Holy Spirit and fire, Matthew 3:10-12. But the reports that reached John in prison spoke of Jesus teaching and performing miracles. Were was the ax? Where was the winnowing fork? Was this really the Messiah, or could John have been mistaken? As we’ll see, Jesus’ response to the question was not a direct answer, but rather involved pointing to the miracles he had been working. It’s a powerful answer. He is concerned that John not waver in his trust in the Messiah.

Continue reading
Posted in Reflections | Comments Off on Go, and Tell John

Confess Christ!

At times you don’t want to be associated with someone else (parents and teens sometimes feel that way about each other). But in Matthew 10:32 Christ calls you to acknowledge him.

Confess Christ! Acknowledge Christ as your Lord. Jesus summons his disciples, about to set out on their initial missionary trip, to be willing to acknowledge their association with him. That would not be easy in the face of opposition. Jesus calls you to confess gladly your relationship with him. Acknowledge that he is your Savior. Be willing to submit to him as your Lord.

Continue reading
Posted in Reflections | Comments Off on Confess Christ!

Not Greater than Your Master

Looking ahead, what will life be like for Christians who are committed to living according to God’s Word? What will it be like in 2021? 2025? If you expect my next sentence to tell you to vote for candidate X (lest you lose your religious freedom) or candidate Y (lest you ignore biblical principles of justice), you’ve stepped into the wrong church (or tuned into the wrong livestream) today. The proper role of the pulpit is to say “thus says the Lord,” and to help God’s people understand what that Word says about various issues—but it is not to give you specific instructions on how to vote. As Jesus in Matthew 10:17–31 tells his disciples what to expect as he sends them out, you and I can learn something of what he expects of us, his followers today. Whatever the outcome of the US election, and wherever in the world you live, expect suffering.

Continue reading
Posted in Reflections | Comments Off on Not Greater than Your Master

Pray for Compassionate Laborers

Why is the clinic in Karamojo called Akisyon A Yesu Clinic? It means the Compassion of Jesus Clinic. In Matthew 9:35–38 you see the compassion that Jesus exhibits.

See Christ’s Messianic compassion. The crowds are harassed and helpless. The location apparently continues to be Galilee. His ministry includes teaching, preaching the good news, and performing miracles of healing. The crowds which followed him were weary and scattered. Some may have come simply out of curiosity. Others came with a desperate need for healing, either for themselves or their loved ones. (That illness was a result of the curse.) Still others came to listen to the good news he proclaimed. Their spiritual condition reflected on their leaders. The scribes, Pharisees, and priests should have been serving as shepherds, leading the people to the Messiah. Instead, they attribute his work to Satan, verse 34, an antagonism that would culminate in their crucifying him. The leaders belonged under the denunciation of Ezekiel 34. You live in a world with a similar hopelessness. The materialism and hedonism of western culture leaves people without roots. See the people around you as your Lord saw the crowds in his day.

Continue reading
Posted in Reflections | Comments Off on Pray for Compassionate Laborers