Saturday, December 12, 2015

Matthew 11-Kingdom Conflicts

SLIDE 1 Welcome Back Ladies. I sincerely hope you had a restful time with your family and friends over the Thanksgiving Holiday. I hope you took time as Jesus did in the verses are the end of this chapter 11 to say Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Don’t let the busyness of the coming holidays steal your JOY of celebrating Christ’s Birth. Don’t miss the Gift! Jesus is the true reason for the season.
SLIDE 2  Kingdom Conflicts
·        John the Baptist’s part in the Kingdom
·        Israel’s Refusal to Believe
·        Cities’ Refusal to Repent
·        Invitation to a Relationship
God has a divine plan for you set in place from Creation.
SLIDE 3 As I prepared this lesson I had a feeling of déjà vu.  We will have just a short refresher to help us understand John’s crisis of faith. In Matthew 3 we studied the angelic birth announcement of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah as he at the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place. This is not the Holy of Holies which was reserved for the High Priest on the Day of Atonement once a year. (Thank you Debbie)
What a day for Zachariah: performed his once in a lifetime duty, told by an angel he would have a son in his old age, and struck dumb until the birth.
Extra information. Abijah was one of twenty-four divisions of the Levitical priests. King David had divided the Levitical priests into divisions when there were too many priests (8,000 to 18,000) to perform the work at the temple. According to David’s guidelines, each division served at the temple twice a year and at the major holidays. Fifty-six priests from one of the divisions served each day. Consequently, the priest who offered incense at the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place each day was determined by a random lot. However, a priest could only offer this service once in his lifetime.
God has a divine plan for John set in place from Creation. Only God could bring into being this special child to a barren couple so advanced in age. John’s call was given to his father Zachariah as the baby was developing in the womb. John’s ministry was preparing the way for the Messiah.

SLIDE 4 Luke 1 tells us 16And he will
·        turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17and he will
·        go before him “Christ” in the spirit and power of Elijah,
·        to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and
·        the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
·        to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."

Ladies I want us to be a people prepared not for the season of Christmas, but for our part in the plan God has for our lives. Build your relationship with Jesus during our Christmas holiday.
Matthew 11:1 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.
SLIDE 5.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?”
John recognized Jesus as the Messiah. He baptized Jesus. He was witness to the voice of heaven…"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." What made John have doubts?
I’m sure that John thought Jesus would usher in the Kingdom of God in his lifetime. Now John is in the prison of Herod at Machaerus, (pronounced ma KAY rus) a magnificent castle yet he was in a prison forbidding fortress,
SLIDE 6 Herod had three strongly defended fortresses at Herodium,  at Masada and  at Machaerus, (ma KAY rus) east of the Jordan Valley on the shore of the Dead Sea.
·        18 miles from the mouth of the Jordan River
·        44.8 K as the crow flies from the city Jerusalem
·        Far away from where Jesus was teaching and preaching
SLIDE 7 John couldn’t know all that Jesus was doing unless someone brought him news. Notice the place of Machaerus on the mountaintop 3,500 feet above sea level, a breathtaking view for Herod of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River but John the Baptist was deftly hidden away from his disciples and his family.  The fortress was no doubt heavily guarded.  John must have wondered what was happening with Jesus’ ministry.
SLIDE 8 Jesus may not have fulfilled John’s expectations as the Messiah. Perhaps John like Jesus’ disciples expected a warrior King like David. Jesus did not come merely repeating John's message of judgment on God's people. Jesus did not take up the mantle and lifestyle of the wilderness prophet in the manner of Ezekiel. No where do we read in scripture where John preformed miracles or healed anyone.
SLIDE 9 And Jesus answered (John’s disciples), “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk,
No other person is scripture is given credit for healing the blind. It is only in Jesus that can remove our spiritual blindness for He is the light of the world.

lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, Isaiah 3:5 tells us

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
I found only one instance of healing of the deaf. Mark 7:31 .. in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
SLIDE 11 the dead are raised up, (Jarius’ daughter, widow’s son)
Luke 7:11-17 Jesus traveled to the town of Nain with his disciples and a large crowd of followers. As they approached the town gate, the dead child of a widow was being carried out. After Jesus saw the widow, he miraculously brought the dead child back to life and gave him back to his mother.
SLIDE 12 the poor have good news preached to them. Jesus came proclaiming the authority and salvation of God, even for the least, the last, and the lost.
God has a divine plan set for our Redemption and Salvation in place from the beginning of the World.
Jesus will complete His Father’s work and accomplish what was foretold in the Scriptures.
SLIDE 13 Jesus now proclaims And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Jesus' testimony to John in verses 7-15
·        John did not wear royal robes like Herod, and interestingly, the coins minted by Herod feature a reed blowing in the wind.
·        Affirmation that John the prophet foretold in Isaiah and Malachi 3: 1"Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.
·        He is not merely the forerunner, he is the preparer of the way;
·        SLIDE 14 Among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.
·        "Yet the least in the Kingdom is greater than he” John not yet heavenly kingdom
·        Jesus suggests the line of the Old Testament prophets ends with  John,
·        Violence against the Kingdom's messengers--namely John and later Jesus.
16-19 compare this generation like children calling to their playmates,
SLIDE 15: 17 ‘We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn't dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn't cry!’ They can’t be pleased 18 When John came, he fasted and drank no wine, and everyone said, ‘He has a demon in him!’ 1
SLIDE 16 When the Son of Man came, he ate and drank, and everyone said, ‘Look at this man! He is a glutton and wine drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts!’ God's wisdom, however, is shown to be true by its results.”
God has a divine plan before Creation for John to prepare the way for His Son the Messiah .
SLIDE 16 Jesus began to denounce three cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. We learned last year of the Woe judgments in Revelation. Woe is used to express grief, regret, or distress.
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! And you, Capernaum
If the mighty works done in these three cities had been done in pagan cities like Tyre and Sidon or Sodom, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
SLIDE 17  … I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the Day of Judgment for the land of Sodom than for you." 
I’m afraid America may soon be called out for her lack of repentance.
Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation who God is the Lord.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
SLIDE 18 25    At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
27            All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
SLIDE 18 28    Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and
 you will find rest for your souls.30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Sisters in Christ do you know the plan God has for your life?
From day five of your questions….
“Jesus offers rest to those who are weighed down by heavy burdens. If you carry such a burden in some area of your life, how much of the weight comes from what others have put on you; from what you are putting on yourself; from what you discern God is asking you to carry?”
SLIDE 19 As we talk about yokes and burdens, make sure you are only carrying the burdens the Lord has assigned for you. Imagine being on a long hike with a heavy backpack and you ask a friend to carry that pack for a while- what relief comes from letting go!
Jesus said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Handing over my own backpack(My baggage)and freeing my will to God’s plan for my life is hard for me. I have always been the fixer in the family, the caretaker in the dysfunctional home. It is easy to assume you have to carry the burden of those you love.
Adapting an illustration I read in a book.
SLIDE 20 The Lord comes to me and says (insert name here) “Ann, my good and faithful servant. I have a job for you to do. Are you willing to pull this wagon up to the top of the mountain?”
“Oh yes, Lord I am willing to serve you in any way I can. It would be my honor to do this for you Lord.”
It was a lovely fall day and a great time for a walk. As I went by my neighbor’s house with my wagon, he says, “Hey Ann, can you carry these few bricks in your wagon and save me a trip.”
“Oh sure, anything for my neighbor,” and on I go along the way. As I pass my cousin’s house she inquired where I was traveling and asked if I could fit in some rocks she had dug up out of her yard.
“Well, maybe I can manage a few, pile them on.” After adding a few more burdens belonging to my family, half way up the mountain I am getting breathless and tired.
I cry out to the Lord in discontent. “Father, this load is too heavy! I can’t finish the trip to the top. This burden is too much for me to handle.”
“Ann, Ann (kind of like Martha, Martha) Did I ask to you carry the burdens of your friends and family?”
“No Lord, you did not give me that task.”
“Why are you trying to carry a burden that is not for you?”
This week, what could you to do to take one of those actions regarding this burden?
SLIDE 21 I remember a bumper sticker that said “Let go and let God!”

Are you willing to follow the divine plan that God set in place for you from Creation?