Summary: Have you ever found yourself running down a mental road, making plans and decisions and talking up a storm, only to have the information you thought you knew turn out to be wrong? Well, the text we are studying today is one of those texts that has that ha
Our text today is Matthew 11:1-6. It has been a little while since we were in our study of Matthew due to the holidays and such, so let’s read the text, shall we?
“When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.’"
Now let us pray and thank God for His living Word…
Have you ever found yourself running down a mental road, making plans and decisions and talking up a storm, only to have the information you thought you “knew” turn out to be wrong?
When the 1960’s ended, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district reverted to high-rent, and many of the hippies in the area moved down the coast to Santa Cruz. Like the other residents of that area, they got married and had children – though not necessarily in that order. They didn’t name their children Paula or John or Melissa or Brett. People in the mountains around Santa Cruz grew accustomed to their children playing on the merry-go-round and the monkey bars at the park with Time Warp and Spring Fever. Eventually Moonbeam, Earth, Love and Precious Promise all ended up in public school. That’s when the kindergarten teachers first met Fruit Stand.
Every fall, perpetuating tradition, parents boldly apply nametags to their children, kiss them good-bye, and send them off to school on big yellow buses. So it was with Fruit Stand. The teachers thought the boy’s name was odd, but they were somewhat used to this, so they tried to make the best of it.
“Would you like to play with the blocks, Fruit Stand?” they offered.
A little later, “How about a snack, Fruit Stand?”
Hesitantly, he accepted. By the end of the day, his name didn’t seem any odder than Heather’s or Sun Ray’s. At dismissal time, the teachers led the children out to the buses. “Fruit Stand, do you know which one is your bus?”
He didn’t answer. That wasn’t strange. He hadn’t answered them all day. Lots of children are shy on the first day of school. It didn’t matter. The teachers had instructed the parents to write the names of their children’s bus stops on the reverse side of their name tags. The teacher simply turned over the tag. There, neatly printed in easy-to-read letters, was the word “Anthony.”
Easy to make assumptions at first glance, isn’t it? Well, the text we are studying today is one of those texts that has that happen to it all the time. Let’s begin by reading the text and then we’ll discuss what it appears to mean and what it actually means.
The first verse, which we saw last time really belongs in the preceding chapter, is clear: Jesus completed His instructions to His disciples and then left the area to do Himself what He had told His disciples to do. He didn’t just give instructions and sit back and watch; it wasn’t “Do as I say, not as I do,” with Jesus, and it never is.
He never asks us to face anything that He has not faced and accomplished Himself already. And, since He lives in us, we have the same power and strength available to us as He had when He went through whatever it is we happen to be facing.
There is a message here, also, for every Christian in that the message we take is not for us, it is for those around us. We have the assurance that we are His; others do not. Jesus sent His disciples into the countryside, then He went there Himself.
The Gospel is not for the saved, it is for the unsaved. Once we have responded to the Gospel, we begin the life of a disciple of Christ. It is ours to spread the Gospel like the fire from our lesson last time. Remember when I set fire to the piece of newspaper and dropped it into the dish? It went out because it ran out of fuel, right? Then I wanted to do the same thing to another piece of paper, but this time I wanted to drop it onto a pile of crumpled newspaper lying on the floor.
Okay, now let’s think about the wisdom in this bridging verse. Do you think that people would have come to the disciples for healing or been interested in hearing them teach if Jesus was around? Why go to the pupil when you can go to the teacher? Why go to the follower when the Master is available? Why have the nurse attend your ailments when the Physician is at hand?