Living Within The Story

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

As we’ve done before, let’s put ourselves in the scene of Matthew 12. The chapter has been full of opinions, evaluations and judgment. Let’s imagine that we followed Jesus through every event of this chapter, beginning with his argument with the religious leaders over what was acceptable on the Sabbath (Matthew 12.1-14). What did we see and hear in those exchanges?

— We learned that Jesus truly cared for people and was willing to risk his reputation and his life for people in need.

— The religious leaders, on the other hand, became so angry with Jesus that they began to plot his death. Jesus’ love, grace and mercy interfered with their rules and regulations.

So far, whose side are you on? What if I said that Jesus’ approach to the Sabbath would be like someone burning the American flag in our day? The Sabbath was as much a part of Israel’s identity as the flag is in America. Would that change your opinion of Jesus’ actions?

As we continued to follow Jesus, we had an opportunity to witness the healing of more people (Matthew 12.15-23). Someone quoted from Isaiah and noted that in God’s kingdom there are no rejects. Even people who resemble broken walking sticks are not discarded as useless.

What Jesus has done is so attractive, but respected people claim that Jesus’ miracles have been performed by the power of Satan (Matthew 12.24). As you think about it you reason that Jesus does seem to have a rather loose approach to the Sabbath. You think to yourself, “This Jesus is certainly difficult to figure out.”

As you listen to Jesus respond to the religious authorities, you think that he has good logic (Matthew 12.25-37). You wonder where Jesus got his education. He seems to be able to answer everything the religious men throw at him and more. You think, “Who is this man?”

On another day, Jesus really blasted the religious leaders and maybe even people like us. He told us that we were an adulterous generation that was at risk of being invaded by demons (Matthew 12.38-45). You say to yourself, “I don’t know if he is serious, but I am sure thinking about that one.”

On your last day to follow Jesus and the others, you am waiting outside of a house where he is staying. His mother and siblings have are standing outside with you. One person goes inside to tell Jesus that his family is outside.

What’s this? Jesus just said, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” (Matthew 12.48).

Then, he stretched out his hand toward the people who have been following him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12.49-50).

Your confusion has now become greater. Jesus seemed to point to you and say that you were qualified to be one of his family members, but he also seemed to ignore his mother and other siblings. What kind of man is this Jesus?

Think About It

I have often approached the Bible like I just described. I usually take a walk while doing it and whisper to myself the kind of dialogue I have presented. God has often opened my understanding to a particular Bible passage by doing it. Please consider trying it out.

What can we learn from our person’s walk with Jesus? Like our imaginary person, we need to see Jesus in action in order to form an accurate picture of him. When Jesus told people that “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (verse 50), he summarized what he was seeking to achieve with people.

Jesus came to earth to return a world that had turned away from God back to God. Most of the time, Jesus used healing, deliverance and the message of the kingdom to change the hearts of people. On other occasions, he had to be firm, argumentative, and “in the face” of people who would only respond to that method.

A question for us is to consider is how Jesus is working with us. Is he using healing, setting us free from addictions and habitual sins, and preaching to capture our hearts? Are difficulties, such as the corona virus pandemic, getting our attention?

One hope I have in writing these articles is that God will use them to further align my life with his will. I want to better understand Jesus’ way of life, so I can join him and live like he does. My prayer for the readers of real-voices.com is that you will do the same.

Today’s Prayer

Dear Jesus, you are absolutely amazing. I marvel at all that we can learn by studying just one chapter in the Bible. I pray that we all will align our lives with your will. Thank you for your abundant grace.

2 Comments

  1. When I think about Jesus life on earth and His followers in that time, I am ever grateful that I live in today’s time. I don’t know how to answer your question. Would I have been a follower in those days? Would I have aligned myself with the religious leaders of the day? I’m a bit of a rule follower. So would I have followed this man who was so clearly outside of the box?

    I often feel as though I have to check myself to keep from being too legalistic. I find that the grace that God has extended me sometimes stops with me. And that is clearly against what Jesus teaches.

    During this time of coronavirus pandemic I’m very thankful for your articles, the Bible app on my phone and for the Bible by my chair that have taken me deeper into Jesus. I love that we never become “perfected.” We can always look towards more from Him and with Him. My faith can keep growing and keep evolving as long as I’m breathing. What an awesome God Who is so complex that we can never know all of Him during our life on earth. There really is never a point when we can say “Okay, I got this church thing. I’m done.” God Is so wonderfully amazing we can always learn more of Him. That’s exciting!

    As Brian English would say, “Thank you, Jesus!”

    Liked by 3 people

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