May 25: The Peril of Rejection (Matthew 11:1-24)
Matthew 11:1-24 (We will study the whole chapter, although only verses 2-6 are provided below)
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (ESV)
Jesus has finished his warning to the disciples about coming opposition and has given them the commission to go preach the gospel (ch. 10). Now Jesus goes out alone to do the same thing: preach the gospel, anticipating that he will be rejected. As he explains to the crowds the identity of John the Baptist, he instructs them regarding the nature of greatness. Greatness in the kingdom of heaven is measured according to humility and personal recognition that we are in a position of utter need before Christ. And because we are in need of him, we must accept his lordship over us and put our hope in him. Those who receive him and are not offended by him will be blessed. But those who reject him by outright denial of him or simply ignoring and neglecting him will be destroyed. Willful rejecters and ignorant neglecters will both be judged, but willful rejecters will be judged more harshly, as Jesus indicates that it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for Capernaum, because Sodom didn't see the works of Christ like Capernaum did. Sodom was ignorant, but Capernaum was arrogant. Are you resisting or submitting to Christ's lordship over you?
Review and Apply
- What is the central challenge of this passage?
- What does it mean to accept Jesus? Do you see evidence in your life that you are accepting Jesus?
- How is greatness measured in the kingdom of heaven?
- Do you ever find yourself “offended” because of Christ? Described the moments where you experience this?
- On the other hand, can you think of moments recently when you have experienced confidence in demonstrating your allegiance to Christ? Would you describe this as arrogant, defensive confidence? Or humble confidence oriented toward hope in God?
- Following Christ is not about having chosen Jesus, but about choosing him in all our activities and decisions. What areas in your life are you habitually not submitting to Christ?
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