THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

December 17

Text: Matthew 11:1

And it came about that when Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.   (NASB)

Matthew saw in Jesus a man who entrusted people with his work.  Jesus in essence said to his disciples that they must depend on him, but they could function on his behalf without his presence. 

What a difficult matter to learn!  It is extremely difficult to be assertive and be dependent at the same time.  It is easy to allow assertiveness to lead us into arrogance or to allow dependence to make us useless.  Jesus was the example of a dependent man (Matthew 26:39) who functioned as an assertive man (Matthew 16:23).  What a difficult balance to maintainóboldness without arrogance!

Jesus expects those who follow him to depend on him for guidance and strength (see Matthew 16:24-28).  Yet, he also expects those who are his followers to function in his behalf (consider Matthew 18:15-20).  Christ-followers do not seek to please themselves.  They seek to please the Christ to whom they belong and God the Father who sent Jesus to be the Christ.

Among the largest and most demanding responsibilities any person who follows Jesus Christ assumes is the challenge to be a humble follower of Godís Savior.  Seeking the balance between being a bold representative of Jesus without being an arrogant, self-assertive person is never-ending.  Each new situation, every new demand contains the temptation to act with arrogance.

We are so disposed to depend on ourselves.  Even when we are oppressed and have little or no opportunity to lash out, our spirit longs for the chance to get even.  We seek justice (whatever that is), not service (we consider service demeaning).  Learn to serve, and entrust justice to Godís hands. 

Suggestion for reflection: What does devotion to Christian humility mean?  (Read Matthew 23:1-12.)

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