Scripture:Matthew 11:20-27 [NKJV]
Mat 11:20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where He had done so many of His miracles, because they hadn't repented of their sins and turned to God. Mat 11:21 "What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Mat 11:22 I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. Mat 11:23 "And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. Mat 11:24 I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you." Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Mat 11:26 Yes, Father, it pleased You to do it this way! Mat 11:27 "My Father has entrusted everything to Me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." [NLT]
Observation: (What do you see when you read this scripture?)
I see a Shepherd yearning for His lost sheep. I see Jesus begging them to see who He really is while realizing that they have missed Him because of their "stubborn cleverness".
He is bemoaning the towns that He has actually been in and done many wonderful miracles in; bemoaning the fact that this great and powerful work is going unheeded. Unheeded and leading to destruction.
He recognizes, through the prayer to His Father, that the Father has seen that it is only the humble of heart, the meek in spirit, the "unclean" who will really accept the gift that is being given them. It is out of their own willful ignorance, via self importance and supposed intellectualism, that they hide the truth from themselves.
Though His words seem sharp, I do not see Jesus as condemning in His spirit, but instead sorrowful and wanting so much to see repentance from the heart. These very people that He is yearning to save would try to force His Kingdom to be run by their definitions and their rules; and, when they could not, they would seek to destroy it. How sad.
Application: (How can I apply this to my life?)
The quickest application is the one that is staring me in the face. DO I SEEK TO MAKE JESUS INTO MY OWN IMAGE? Do I try to make my religion into something I want it to be or do I seek the Kingdom that Jesus has already set up? To be honest, I don't always know. I do know that I want to do it Jesus' way and not man's way, but the only way I can do that is by following Him and finding out from Him directly.
Prayer:(Let Him know your thoughts)
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank You for being willing to come to this wretched dark place and show us the light. Lord, I ask that You will work in my life and help me to be a better follower of You. Bring me to that strong repentance that You desire, not because it is some kind of requirement, but because You want to move my heart in Your direction.
Thank you for being willing to forgive me my sins. I ask for that forgiveness now and I ask for a new direction.
Please keep my family safe Lord and bring them home to You. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.