As I read through the Bible I love to see the progression and connection of truth. I am currently reading through the book of Matthew. The teachings of Jesus are always profound but are often best understood when we take the time to see how they connect and build on one another. This blog (and some others to follow) is some truth God has spoken to me as he has shown me some connections of truth in the teachings of Jesus. To better understand the truth I am going to share you might want to read Matthew 9-11.
In Matthew 9:27-31, Jesus has an encounter with and heals some blind men. There is an interesting twist to this story compared to our lives as Christ-followers today. Jesus gave these men specific instructions to not tell anyone about him or what he had done for them. He told them to do the exact opposite of what he has told us to do. We have been commanded to share this truth and Gospel to the ends of the earth. Yet, here is the twist. We, having been told to speak out, remain silent while these who were told to remain silent spoke out.
Over the next couple of chapters Jesus touches on some truths that all scratch the surface of this issue. I want to take some time to just scratch the surface of each one and I might scratch deeper on each of the individual issues in some later blogs.
First he says that the harvest is ripe but the workers are few. This statement comes after we hear of Jesus’ compassion and heart for the spiritual condition of the world around him. Quick truth is the fields still remain largely empty because we do not share his compassion for the world around us.
Then in Matthew 10 Jesus speaks of the great sacrifices required to follow him. The truth is boiled down to the truth that we must take our cross and follow after him. This will mean putting the Gospel before family at times in our lives. This will mean being ridiculed and criticized. This will mean being persecuted and put down. These realities should be the expectations of every Christ-followers life not the exception.
Then in Matthew 11 he flips the truth around and says “”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” At first glance this sounds nothing like cross bearing, but look a little deeper. Take my “yoke” and my “burden.”
So what is Jesus Christ saying about following him with these two very different sounding teachings and how does it connect to the blind men speaking in the face of instruction for silence?
Too many Christians today are completely unamazed by God’s grace. I believe that is true because so many of us came to know Christ early in our lives and we fail to see the reality of God’s grace. Let me use the two other passages to explain this thought.
Jesus called me out of the darkness and into his wonderful light when I was 8 years old. That was 26 years ago. I have lived the majority of my life in his light and in his grace and through his mercy. This has caused me (and many others) to have a greater memory of the burdens we have carried than our burden he bore for us.
We must realize that the reason his yoke is easy and his burden is light is because the burden and yoke we no longer bear – the price and penalty for our sins that he bore completely on the cross – is far greater. Our problem is that many of us fail to see the daily reality of this grace because we are so comfortable and familiar with it. Honestly, many of us fail to see how amazing God’s grace is because he did not simply save us from who we were but he saved us from becoming who we would have been.
We are not amazed by his grace because we have a greater remembrance of all that we have done for Christ than we do understanding the reality of what he has done for us.
That is why we stay silent while being instructed to speak instead of speaking up when being instructed to remain silent. The blind men saw the reality of the grace and mercy of Christ with their own eyes. It was fresh. It was new. And it was real.
So these truths from Scripture have brought me to this prayer. I wonder if you would not pray it with me…
Lord, open my eyes that I may see. Show me not only the reality and truth of the grace of God that has saved me from what I had become but show me the reality of what your grace saved me from ever becoming. Lord, may I never again use an improper scale when considering the burden and yoke I carry. May my memory never again be more full of my own sacrifices than of yours. May my heart never again see what I have done without seeing what you have done. Lord, may I never again count the cost without the light of the cost you paid. May my heart always be full of your compassion for the condition of the souls around me. May I see them as you see them. Lord, may I always be in the field at work. Lord, I know that I will never remain in the field as a living sacrifice without a continuous view of your mercy in my life. So Lord, never again allow me to fail to see the compassion you had for me and exactly how much I needed it. Lord, may I not only see and realize the reality of it, may it move me. Lord, cause this truth to cause me to speak the name and grace of Christ and to serve him in all faithfulness with sincere gratitude.
Lord, thank you for your love, compassion, and grace…For I once was lost but now am found…was blind but now I see…