GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus
Jesus has been teaching about the character of the Kingdom of Heaven and the paths of Disciples – those who have believed in and are now following him. The message and ministry of Jesus – the healing of the sick and crippled – exposed the religious leaders for who they were as the enemies of God. They now plotted to kill Jesus.
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him,and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19 He will not quarrel or cry out;no one will hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed he will not break,and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. 21 In his name the nations will put their hope. Matthew” Matthew 12:18-21.
1. A Time for Seclusion and A Time for Speaking Out. In the context of the growing plot to kill Jesus because of how he exposed the religious hypocrisy of his day and the obvious authority He had as one who spoke for God, Jesus now instructs his disciples to not promote his ministry. The issue was timing. There was a right time for Jesus to expand his message to the masses – but not yet. The premature expansion of his message would bring to Him what he did not seek – miracle worker, fame, earthly glory. His purpose was to demonstrate the mercy and justice of God and salvation that would come through his death and resurrection.
2. Isaiah’s prophecy of the Coming of God’s Servant. Isaiah spoke of four servant prophesies in his messages. Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-9; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12. This is the first. This prophecy predicts that the coming Messiah – Jesus – would have God’s approval, God’s spirit, will initially come quietly and gently, with humility, will bring justice, and will provide hope to many nations. But this description is not a populous message – one that attracts attention and a large following. It is a redemptive message where the ultimate focus and credit is in heaven not on earth.
3. What is a Servant Savior? This is the heart of the message of the gospel. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28. This was a redemptive message not just for Israel but for the masses and, as such, the period of secrecy was gradually replaced by that of wide publicity, as the church begins to fulfill its mission to all men, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, male and female, a Savior for all.
Matthew 20:24-2824When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles LORD it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The message of the Bible, and of Jesus, is not one of power and influence as the world knows it but one of mercy, love and justice for all. Or as Micah 6:8 says: Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. That was the life and ministry of Jesus, and the gospel from the redemptive work of the cross, offered to all, as a free gift, not of works, but received by faith.
What an amazing message and story told by Jesus. But now Satan – the enemy – surfaces, and Jesus instructs in issues of spiritual warfare. Next week. Stay well.
— John Moore
Photo: © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro