Friday, February 21, 2014

"Missing the point ... and missing Jesus!"

Day #56:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - February 22nd

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 20 - 22 ...

Like the Pharisees and others, millions of people miss the point of the Gospels, miss the point of the Bible ... and miss Jesus ... ... and to miss Jesus is to miss His kingdom, to miss forgiveness and to miss eternal life.  Jesus was always teaching, but those without the Spirit could not and did not understand that He was talking about more than things in this world.  He was talking about spiritual things, eternal things.  If you miss this, you miss Jesus ... and you miss life ... now and forever.

As He approached the time for His crucifixion, Jesus continued teaching about the kingdom that was to come.  He began to point out that those who thought they were already in the kingdom were missing something:  GRACE!  They thought they were good enough, righteous enough, to enter on their own merits.  The parable of the workers in the vineyard points to grace.

What is valuable in God's kingdom is humility and the willingness to live as a servant.  Why?  Because this world isn't all there is.  Jesus displayed His compassion for those who cried out to Him, whether their need was physical or spiritual ... or both.  But the Pharisees didn't think they needed a Savior.  Their arrogance was their greatest sin.  They saw Jesus riding into Jerusalem and should have known that He was fulfilling the Scriptures, but they didn't WANT to see.

As Jesus told parables, the Pharisees asked questions.  The eternal Son of God was right there, in front of them, and they were trying to trick Him!  "By what authority are you doing these things?" (21:23).  He caught them at their own "game."  Jesus told the parable of the tenants and the Pharisees did not understand that He was talking about them until it was too late.  When they finally realized that He was saying that they would be excluded from the kingdom, "They looked for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that He was a prophet" (21:46).

Here's the truth:  There will be a wedding banquet (22:1-14) ... this is more than a parable (see Revelation 19:1-9).  And "many are invited, but few are chosen!" (22:14).  Jesus would go to the cross and then rise again and ascend into heaven, sending His Spirit and calling those whom the Father has chosen into His eternal kingdom by faith in Jesus, but all the Pharisees could do is try to trap Jesus into giving a wrong answer!  They thought they were so smart, but they missed what should have been obvious:  "I AM the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ..." (22:32).  God said that when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were DEAD - physically.  But He is the God of the LIVING!!

"What do you think about the Christ?" Jesus asked them (22:41).  And when they answered, "The son of David," Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 and asked them another question:  "If then David calls him, 'Lord,' how can he be his son?"  Matthew writes, "No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask Him any more questions" (22:46).

All they had to do was recognize Jesus for who He was:  the eternal Son of God, and they could have entered God's kingdom.  Ignorance is not bliss, and arrogance does not impress God.  This is not a game ... eternity is at stake.  Miss the point ... and you miss Jesus.  Miss Jesus ... and you miss life, now and forever.  The truth has been right in front of people for almost 2,000 years!  If you know Jesus, believe in Jesus, love Jesus, worship Jesus, serve Jesus ... stand firm.  Whoever would be great in His kingdom must be the servant of all (20:26-28).

Don't miss Jesus.  He's right in front of you.

"Heavenly Father, as Jesus opened the eyes of the blind, send Your Spirit to open the eyes of those who read Your Word to see Jesus as He is:  the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, your Son, our Savior and our Lord!  Move those who read and those who hear to put their trust in Him that they might have life and enter into His eternal kingdom by Your grace.  Thank you, Father, in Jesus' name, Amen"

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