Disruption is at hand
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Studying Book of Matthew 11-12
Definition of disrupt 1 a : to break apart: Rupture b : to throw into disorder 2 : to interrupt the normal course or unity of
Jesus’ ministry is in line with prophetic promises about the time of salvation, as seen especially in these descriptions that recall the words of Isaiah:
the blind receive sight (cf. 9:27–31; Isa. 29:18; 35:5),
the lame walk (Isa. 35:6; cf. Matt. 15:30–31),
lepers are cured (Isa. 53:4; cf. Matt. 8:1–4),
the deaf hear (Isa. 29:18–19; 35:5; cf. Mark 7:32–37),
the dead are raised (Isa. 26:18–19; cf. Matt. 10:8; Luke 7:11–17; John 11:1–44), and
the good news is preached to the poor (Isa. 61:1; cf. Matt. 5:3; Luke 14:13, 21).
Jesus’ deeds gave sufficient proof of who he was and that the prophesied time of salvation had come (“the year of the Lord’s favor”; Isa. 61:1; cf. Isa. 62:1). (ref. ESV Study Bible)
As messianic king, Jesus comes to set up His rule and reign in our lives. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 11:15) Jesus did not come to comfort us but to discomfort us—to move us from sin to freedom, from darkness to light. In Matthew 11 and 12, let’s us examine 4 ways Jesus disrupts us:
He disrupts us personally (Matt. 11:3)
He disrupts us corporately (Matt. 11:20-24)
He disrupts us intellectually (Matt. 12:1-37)
He disrupts us relationally (Matt. 12:46-50)
1. Jesus disrupts us personally - John the Baptist
Are you the one who is to come? John is probably concerned because his present imprisonment does not match his understanding of the Coming One’s arrival, which was to bring blessing on those who repented and judgment on those who did not.
Matt. 11:6 blessed is the one who is not offended by me. The beatitude is a mild rebuke; John and his disciples must be open to God’s unfolding plan, even though Jesus’ ministry did not exactly match their messianic expectations. (Ref. ESV Study Bible) God will disrupt our faith to help us see something bigger about who He is and His way.
2. Jesus disrupts us corporately - Cities
Romans 11:22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
When Jesus exerts His power of the Kingdom, He expects whole cities to repent. He came to disrupt the moral, political, social, economic and cultural order of a city. The Kingdom comes to turn everything up-side-down. When Jesus came, the Kingdom is being poured out. Jesus expected laws to be changed. He expects lifestyles and behaviours to change. Cheating, lying, corruption, killing, stealing, coveting, greed, malice, adultery…gone! When cities experienced what the kingdom of Heaven is like, they felt it yet they chose not to repent, God’s judgement is upon them.
If only people in the cities have had tender hearts…As God’s intercessors, let’s start crying out for our cities.
3. Jesus disrupts us intellectually - False Teaching
Pharisees are “a laymen’s fellowship, popular with the common people and connected to local synagogues, chiefly characterized by adherence to extensive extrabiblical traditions, which they rigorously obeyed as a means of applying the law to daily life.” (ref. ESV Study Bible)
Matt. 12:1-8 records a story of the Pharisees challenging Jesus for allowing his disciples to “work” on a Sabbath. The Pharisees were so stuck on ensuring their religion by following rules they made, they’ve completely missed the point:
As commanded by God in Lev. 19:9, 23:22, the edges of the field are to be left not harvested so that the poor and sojourner can find food. The law showed the compassion of God for those in need.
God permits exceptions to the rules the Pharisees made up. E.g., David and his gang eating the bread of the Presence, which was to be eaten by priests only, priests are allowed to work on the Sabbath.
Jesus is the lord of the Sabbath: The Sabbath points to Christ and the “rest” he gives from the impossible task of earning salvation by good works (11:28) (ref. ESV Study Bible)
4. Jesus disrupts us relationally - Family
Don’t get us wrong, God created families. God intends people to get married and have children. We’re born into the families, we’ve parents we need to honour, partners we need to love on, children to raise. Jesus, being both truly human and truly God, He also had family obligations to fulfill. In Matt. 12:46, Jesus’ mother and brothers went to look for him. They may have thought Jesus has lost His mind (Mark 3:21). They failed to see Jesus’ messianic mission and identify.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus told us to “deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) Although it’s a godly call to fulfill our family obligations, our family should not take priority over God because doing so it’s idolatry.
For Reflection / Group discussion:
Jesus disrupts us personally: How have you found yourself in situations that do not match your understanding of Jesus? In those times, did you ask, “God, is that you?” What response did you receive from God, and what did you find out about God?
Jesus disrupts us corporately: Come up with some areas in your local community, city, province or state, country that you can cry out to God for. E.g., local school board, businesses, lawmakers, law enforcers, homelessness, people battling addiction, mental illness, generational sins and hurt, racial conflicts, illegal activities and violence, human trafficking, loneliness, aging, consumerism, persecution against Christians, spiritualities that draw people away from God…etc. As a group, select a few of these areas you come up with, make a point to keep praying for your city.
Jesus disrupts us intellectually: Is there any false teaching that’s distracting you from “the point”? For example, our culture is saying, “You’re self-sufficient. You’re independent. Just do it.” Whereas Jesus is inviting you to take His yoke and partner with Him. What might be preventing you from attaining the rest Jesus promises?
Jesus disrupts us relationally: Which voice is louder in your life: the voice of your parents/spouse/children or the voice of God? Which voice has greater effect on your thoughts, decisions, emotions?
Father God, thank you for loving us first. Jesus Christ, thank you for redeeming us and giving us salvation by faith and not by works. Jesus, we seek you in the openings in our lives. We ask that the Spirit of truth will come and help us identify our false expectations, false communities, false beliefs and false idols. We look for your gentle hand for guidance and hope.
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