Jesus, Healer, Miracle Worker and Saviour; on His Terms Not Ours!

Promise of Freedom – God Always Had a Plan  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  20:56
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Scene 1. John had some questions about the nature of Jesus’ ministry and Messiahship.
Understandable really, he was in jail.
Death was a very likely outcome.
And the reports about Jesus that he was hearing didn’t add up with his expectations.
Jesus wasn’t taking over Jerusalem.
He was out with the common people.
He was hanging out with them in the country side and in small villages, he was going to parties.
And spending time with outcasts.
Many have said that John was questioning whether Jesus was the Messiah because he was in jail and John thought that Jesus should have come and freed him by now, that is he was becoming discouraged.
I think that it wasn’t like that.
Have a look at John chapter 1 verses 29 to 34.
I really don’t think after that sort of experience that John would have had any reason to doubt who Jesus was.
His problem was that he wasn’t seeing all that he expected.
Look at Matthew 3:10 - 12
Matthew 3:10–12 NLT
10 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
John expected someone who would bring judgement and he wasn’t seeing it in Jesus’ actions.
Like most of his contemporaries John almost certainly saw the coming Messiah as bringing in the day of Israel’s restoration.
He thought that the Day of the Lord was here and that this meant that there was going to be judgement as well as freedom.
The common expectation in accordance with Malachi 4:5 was that Elijah would appear at that time.
Since John himself said that he wasn’t Elijah (John 1:19-21) and he was sure that Jesus wasn’t, then perhaps he thought that he had missed something and there was another messianic figure to come.
So John sent messengers to Jesus to ask a very important question, are you the one, I don’t see you doing what I expected, have I missed something?
He had a question & Jesus answered it by drawing on a Messianic passage from Isaiah 35:4-6 and also Isaiah 61
Isaiah 35:4–6 NLT
4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” 5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. 6 The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.
Isaiah 61 predicts that the Messiah is anointed to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and to open the prisons to the bound.
Jesus is telling John that the messianic purpose has begun to be realized among men.
While John is looking for more evidence of this, Jesus asks him to be content with the evidence there is and not count it for too little.
The gospel is being preached and is authenticated by the miracles of healing and of resurrection.
Isaiah 61 went further and spoke of Messiah judging the nations; Jesus does not refer to this.
This will take place in God’s time.
John has to be content with the inauguration of Christ’s kingdom, and not be offended,that it is not yet fully realized. [1]
Scene 2. Some of the people also had some questions.
Have a look at Matthew 11:18
They had some questions about John.
These were obviously questions that the leaders had raised to dismiss someone who had called them vipers (Matthew 3:7).
Sly serpents intend on deceit.
As far as they were concerned John was a nutter at best, demon possessed at worse.
After all who goes out into the desert wearing clothes made of camel hair and eating locusts and wild honey? (Matthew 3:2-4)
There was in their eyes something very wrong with this person.
He didn’t meet their expectations of a prophet.
He wasn’t one of them, one of the elite, one who in their eyes was pleasing to God.
They had some questions about Jesus as well.
Look at Matthew 11:19
You don’t hang out with these sorts of people.
The messiah is meant to be a ruler, not one of the common folk.
In their eyes he should be pure and clean, keeping all the rules in order to be pleasing to God.
You see these people had an attitude problem.
Nothing pleased them, just have a look Matthew 11:15-17
Matthew 11:15–17 NLT
15 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! 16 “To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, 17 ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’
Jesus uses an illustration about a common children’s game of the time, weddings and funerals.
Apparently children would play instruments and invite their friends to act out the joy and dancing of a wedding or the sorrow and mourning of a funeral.
But these people are like perversely obstinate children sitting in the town square.
They can’t make up their mind what they want to do.
It doesn’t matter how exciting a show you put on for them they won’t join in.
Nothing is good enough.
They looked at John in verse 18 living a simple humble life of a desert holy man, just like the great prophet Elijah and they accuse him of being demon possessed and a false prophet.
Penalties punishable by death in accordance with Deut 13.
Then they look at Jesus in verse 19, caring for and being a friend of the lost and disposed and enjoying their company, living life a lot like King David did in his early days and they accuse him of being a glutton and drunkard.
Penalties which were also punishable by death in accordance with Deut 21:20.
They desire God’s kingdom, but they don’t like the one that God is offering.
They want it their way.
Scene 3. We need to be careful that the kingdom we desire isn’t different from the one that John and Jesus preached otherwise we will prove ourselves to be unwise and miss out on all that God has for us.
At the end of verse 19 Jesus makes a very telling statement.
They think he and John are fools.
Yet who was right.
Who announced the coming kingdom, who actually brought it in?
The actions of John and of Jesus produced the desired result.
The actions of the leaders of the people brought about total destruction of the temple and the city and even the nation for one thousand eight hundred and something years, until after World War 2.
You see Israel missed out on all that God desired for them, they rejected the Messiah and they rejected the Elijah who was to come in the person of John the Baptist.
Which means we need to answer the question.
Are we at times unwise?
Do we desire a kingdom that is different from the one that John announced and Jesus brought in?
Doctor Harry Kraus Jr has written a book about this very issue called Domesticated Jesus.
Listen to a review of this book.
The reviewer quotes these very true words of Michael S. Horton.
"Jesus was not revolutionary because he said we should love God and each other. Moses said that first. So did Buddha, Confucius, and countless other religious leaders we've never heard of. Madonna, Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Dali Lama, and probably a lot of Christian leaders will tell us that the point of religion is to get us to love each other. "God loves you" doesn't stir the world's opposition. However, start talking about God's absolute authority, holiness, ... Christ's substitutionary atonement, justification apart from works, the necessity of new birth, repentance, baptism, Communion, and the future judgment, and the mood in the room changes considerably".
Then he goes onto say, So many modern believers have exchanged the powerful truth of God's holiness and the great grace required for sinners (provided by a merciful God) for a mild, nice, and sappy version of Christianity, which is not truly Christianity. (Mike Robinson)
He then goes onto quote Col. 1:15-18 Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Mike Robinson)
Scene 4. You see we need to understand our place in all of this.
John was a great prophet & friend of Jesus.
But we have a greater position in the kingdom, as sons and daughters, but only if we will accept it as it really is.
Compare Matthew 11: 7 -10 with verse 11
Verses 7 & 8 are rhetorical questions.
The answer is no.
The people did not go out to see something weak.
They went out to see a powerful prophet, with a fearless message.
They did not go out to see some fancy show pony.
They went out to see the real thing, the authentic confronting voice of God.
John was more than a prophet; he was the voice of God announcing the coming Messiah.
John announced the kingdom; his privilege was to be the greatest man of God.
Our privilege is to be in the kingdom, we are sons and daughters of God.
But if we are like the leaders and people of Jesus day and forcibly oppose it’s rule in our lives.
Then we make the mistake of trying to create God’s kingdom in our own little world the way we would like it.
And the result will be to miss out totally.
Let’s welcome the real kingdom of God into our lives.
The Kingdom of Jesus, the healer, the miracle worker, the Saviour.
But it has to be on his terms not ours!
For he is also Sovereign Lord!
Let’s humbly submit to all its implications, even the ones that we don’t like because they make us take a long hard look at ourselves.
Let’s even embrace the ones that mean we have to change.
Because I can tell you from bitter experience, until we start to welcome the kingdom as Jesus and John preached it.
Until we accept that we must be transformed into the likeness of Christ, totally under his authority and rule in every aspect of our lives we haven’t really accepted it.
Instead we accept a self created counterfeit.
And a counterfeit is worthless.
Campbell, I. D. (2008). Opening up Matthew (68). Leominster: Day One Publications.
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