2021_02_10 Insight Post- Rusty Coram
This week's reading- Matthew 11 & 12
Some of the things Jesus said were simple and direct like, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” (Matthew 7:12) And then we come across things like Matthew 11:12, “And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.” (NLT) At first glance this seems pretty militant… is that what He is getting at? Well, this is one of those times when we need to examine other parts of the Bible to help us understand what the passage means. When we do, we will see that Jesus is preparing us for life in His kingdom. First, work in His kingdom is not passive, but active and deliberate. We see an example of this in John the Baptist, through his honest and forthright preaching and teaching. Like him, God wants us to speak and live the truth with loving words and actions – and never compromising either. This is a powerful force for advancement and one that requires us to “carry our cross daily”, and not take the easy route (see Luke 9:21-26).
Second, when we live this way we should expect to be attacked like both John and Jesus were. John found himself in prison and then was wrongfully executed (Matthew 14) and we already know about the hatred and attacks Jesus endured. He wants us to understand, and not be surprised, that by following Him and doing what is right there will be times when we are treated maliciously and unjustly.
I love that Jesus does not sugar-coat reality. Following Him will cost us, and cause us to incur criticism and persecution. BUT at the same time, we will always have Him with us to strengthen, encourage and provide all we need to be faithful. Living this way, we can be certain that when this life is over we will be greeted by Him and the Father with, “Well done!”