Today’s Reading: Matthew 11:1-30; Luke 7:18-35
With spring comes rain and rain is exactly what we have here in Central Illinois. We need a healthy amount of rain for the crops to grow, but the results of this excessive rain are making life interesting around here. We have had issues with streets flooding and debris washing into intersections. Mud from our neighbor’s corn field is mixing with the flowing water and the streets are a mess. Basements are flooding and puddles make it hard to walk through parking lots without getting our feet wet. But all of this is to be expected when we get this much rain. The flooding and debris are a natural result of the storms.
So what is the natural outflow of our lives and the storms we experience?
“But wisdom is shown to be right by its results” (Matthew 11:19b). These are the words of Jesus to the crowd of people, calling them to a holy lifestyle. Luke tells of the same moment in a slightly different way: “But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it” (Luke 7:35). What a great way to start my morning – a cup of coffee with a challenge to inspect my heart and the results of my daily life. The evidence of wisdom can be found in the way our lives are lived out.
Jesus went on to call out those communities of people who had seen all of the miracles he had performed, YET continued to live their lives by their own desires and for their own purposes.
“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. I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you.
“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. I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you” (Matthew 11:21-24).
I cannot help but feel like Jesus is talking to the Church and to the Christian community. Those of us who have been blessed to have experienced the presence of God in a worship service or to have witnessed God’s healing power in the lives of others, we should be the first to submit to our Savior and live the righteous life He calls us to. To have experienced God’s blessings and then reject him as Lord is a serious offense.
Jesus told them, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen – the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, ‘God bless those who do not turn away because of me.’” – Matthew 11:4-6
Once we have met Jesus, once we have experienced God, His plan is for us to follow Him. This righteous life is not a set of rules or a religion, it is a relationship. Right living flows from the heart that has seen God at work and desires nothing more than to serve Him every day. It is not a standard or measurement, it is an authentic effort to get to know God and to spend time with Him and to live your life connected to the One who created all things.
“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.”
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:27-30).
Again, Jesus speaks of relationship and a continued connection to Him. Everything Jesus did and everything he said was rooted in his relationship with the Father and the unity that exists between them. Jesus is offering us that same relationship, that same connection and unity.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.” – John 10:14-15
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” – John 14:6-7
“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” – John 17:25-26
What a privilege to sit at the feet of Jesus and to remain in His presence throughout our day! How marvelous it is to know Him and be known by Him! Lord, may my wisdom be evidenced by the result of my life and may my life be described as following you each day – not as religious duty but as an outflow of my relationship with you.