Summary: Jesus was faced with consistent resistance to His proclamation and revelation. Is there ever a time to withdraw?
Passage: Matthew 12:15-21
Intro: Anyone familiar with war knows that soldiers talk about tactics and logistics.
1. there is not a lot of question about the purpose of war: It is to defeat the enemy.
2. and in order to do that, we put aside attitudes of compassion and kindness, and replace them with anger and sometimes even cruelty.
Il) “All’s fair in love and war” because in war the goal is domination, and attitude is in line with the goal of victory.
3. now we find much war imagery in the Bible in describing the Christian life.
4. and yet oftentimes we mistakenly misidentify the enemy, as we will see.
5. this passage is very instructive to us concerning the attitude that should pervade our ministry in this world.
6. we find in these few verses a beautiful example of the appropriate Christian attitude in the face of strong opposition to the message and the messenger.
7. how should we respond when the message is rejected? What did Jesus do?
I. Strategic Withdrawal
1. last week, we saw that Jesus had a run-in with the Pharisees concerning the Sabbath.
2. it ended rather badly, with battle lines clearly drawn in v14.
3. v15, “aware of this, Jesus withdrew.”
4. Jesus was clearly aware of this strong opposition, their murderous intent.
5. now we are talking about Jesus here, a person with incredible power at His disposal.
6. He had any number of alternatives.
7. He could have stupefied them with intellectual arguments, he could have made their secrets known.
8. he could have broken their teeth, torn down their strongholds, taken their very lives!
9. and yet, he walked away from a fight with those who would ultimately kill him.
Il) this may surprise you, but as a kid, I was not one to walk away from a fight. I had the tendency to seek them out.
10. Jesus withdrew from this fight, but the withdrawal was strategic.
11. do you remember when we talked about the fact that God hides revelation from some people as few weeks ago?
12. and we discussed then that hiddeness often results from the rejection of the clear revelation of creation.
13. here is an example of that in Jesus’ response of strategic withdrawal.
14. he revealed who He was, the Lord of the Sabbath, God in the flesh, and the response of some was to plan to kill him. That’s rejection!
15. and so Jesus leaves, taking His revelation with Him.
16. many followed him, and they continued to receive revelation in the form of miraculous healings.
17. but they were also instructed to keep that revelation to themselves, and not to share it with those to whom it was hidden. Why?
II. Ministry is Characterized by Quiet Confidence in God’s Plan
1. v17 is very powerful, gives a reason for Jesus’ withdrawal from conflict.
2. even those these men would ultimately be responsible for his crucifixion, he withdrew.
3. and that fulfilled this amazing statement made hundreds of years earlier by Isaiah.
4. the servant I send will be specifically chosen by me, who possesses a character that I delight in.