28 Days of Bible Study: Day 11
The People of Saint James and The Gospel of Matthew
March 26, 2020
Step 1: Read Matthew chapter 10
Step 2: A little teaching...
In verse 2 and following, John the baptist is seeking some reassurance. He is in prison and (spoiler alert) will soon be executed (14:1ff). John is probably afraid. He should be.
Jesus tells him about all ways the Good News of God's Kingdom is at work.
And then Jesus gets kind of sarcastic with the crowds. For example verses 7 and 8. Soft robes is a reference to a king or queen living in pampered luxury. (Remember John was scratchy camel's hair and a leather belt). A reed shaken by the wind, makes me literally think about a piece of dried meaningless grass that is here today and gone tomorrow. But it may also refer to coin minted by Herod which had a reed on one side, in which case the sarcasm might be... 'why did you follow John into the wilderness, did you think it would be profitable? Did you think this was a good way to make money?'
So while it's probably wrong to psychoanalyze Jesus, let me suggest that he might be heartbroken about John's imprisonment and coming execution. He might be frustrated by the doubts of the crowd. He might be angry about the ways John was dismissed by those who could have listened.
If you keep reading (20-24), it's clear Jesus is angry as he begins to announce judgment on unrepentant cities!
After his rant, he prays and then issues an invitation to discipleship, which taken out of context sounds so sweet and beautiful, but in context sounds a little more... How does it sound?
Step 3: Discuss, Doodle, Draw or Journal...
What do you think: In verses 28-30 is Jesus invitation to discipleship...
- a 180 degree turn to sweetness and light?
- or a sincere word of comfort to those troubled by John's impending death?
- or a ominous and serious invitation to Jesus' own difficult work?
- (Remember Jesus' yoke seems to be the cross.)
Look up pictures of a yoke on the internet.
Then look up pictures of Jesus' carrying his cross.
(It was likely that he carried the horizontal piece but like oxen in a yoke.)
What is the cross of discipleship? What is the burden Jesus' calls us to?
Step 4: Pray
Dear God, We thank you for your servant John. We ask your forgiveness for the ways in which we ignored his call to repentance. Help us to heed your son's invitation to pick up the cross and follow. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Pastor Bill Bernau. All rights reserved.