Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed 2 of the 3 big ideas from Matthew 12 on Things Jesus Refuses To Do. And what we’ve noticed is that the things He refuses to do are actually for our benefit. We’ve noticed that Jesus is not in the business of making our life hell, but rather is in the business of picking us up from the hell we experience here on earth. We’ve come to understand from Matthew 12 that Jesus refuses to be impatient with sinners and that He declines to dampen the spirits of those who are exhausted. And thank God for these attributes because it gives a greater picture of a Jesus who loves us and wants to do what is best for us – a God who cares for His creation even though His creation has turned its back on Him.
As I have said before, Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship, and healthy relationships allow for uniqueness, mistakes, and faults. And even though Jesus refuses to be impatient with us and declines to dampen our spirits, He also asks for our obedience.
But most people don’t have a problem with Jesus’ patience with sin. They love this characteristic. It’s very encouraging. What they have a problem with is Jesus’ command to obey, which means I must change from my sinful ways. Yet, even though obedience requires a sacrifice of my will, it is to me the most encouraging word with regards to my future.
If I choose to obey Jesus, the more I become like Him and need not fear of the day when Jesus does come again to judge for sin. Obedience results in favor – God’s favor. And who doesn’t want that?
If we look closer at Matthew 12: 14-21, we see a third point about Jesus: Jesus declines to enter where He’s not invited.
What Matthew wanted to show the readers of his Gospel is that a prophecy given in the book of Isaiah (verses 18 – 21), written some 700 years prior to Jesus, matched exactly this Jesus he and others were proclaiming to be the Messiah.
After all, how many times did Jesus say, “Don’t tell who I am and what I’ve done”? How many times did Jesus walk away from the conflict the religious leaders of Israel were trying to create? How many times did Jesus reach out to the weak and unfavorable? How many times did Jesus have to be arrested, tried and beaten, and crucified? How has the world been impacted by this man named Jesus?
If we look closely at this Old Testament quotation, the longest in Matthew’s Gospel, we see the broad answer to these questions. It summarizes the quiet ministry of the Lord’s servant, who will bring justice and hope to the nations. It shows a Jesus that doesn’t want to argue and fight with people to get them to believe. It shows a Jesus whose His ministry exuded of confidence because He understood who He was. And it shows us that He wants people today to understand that He is not an intruder.
Jesus says in Matthew 7: 8, “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
And in Revelation 3: 20, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Notice in both these passages that Jesus is not forcing His will on us. He is not forcing us to knock on His door.
Matthew 7: 8 shows a Jesus who so wants to be in our hearts that He will never deny anyone who asks to come into His presence – He will open the door for those who knock at His door.
Nor, is He making us open the door when He knocks and speaks.
Revelation 3: 20 shows a Jesus who so wants to be in our hearts, that He’s knocking, but will only come in by our invitation – He will only come in when we open the door.
So how can it get any better for mankind? I mean, we have a Jesus who is patient with us despite our sin, a Jesus who is there to encourage us and pick us up in the midst of our problems, and a Jesus who does not force His way on anyone.
I mean, we have a Jesus who can be Savior if only we invite Him to come in as our Savior and to change our lives.
And today is the day to say “yes”. You’ll never regret it. In fact, I’ve never heard any say they regret the day they allowed Jesus to enter their lives. But, I’ve heard many say they regretted they had not done it sooner.