And You Did Not Dance

Matthew 11:7-11 NIV

“As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

The subject matter is John the Baptist. Although he had disciples, and many came to him for baptism, not all fell in love with John. He was strange to them; out of the ordinary. He didn’t do things conventional ways. John was not one who was easily swayed by public opinion. He didn’t go with the crowd. He didn’t follow the latest fads or the most current vogue in how to grow his ministry in order to draw in large crowds of people, and in how to please his audience in such a way so that they would want to come back.

He knew who he was. He knew who he was called of God to be, and he knew the seriousness of the task that was before him, and he did not falter or waver in unbelief or in trying to be crowd pleaser. For, he was not a man of reputation, i.e. he didn’t try to make a name for himself. He didn’t plaster his picture all over the place big and bold in order to draw people to himself. He was humble and submissive to God and obedient and faithful to his calling, even in the face of rejection and persecution.

He was not a wealthy man, either. He lived in abject poverty. He was not in it for the fame or the money. He made no profit off of his ministry. His goal was to please God and to do what he told him to do, and nothing else motivated him other than love for his fellow man. Jesus said John was a prophet, but more than a prophet. John was prophesied concerning in the Old Testament. He was the Elijah that was to come. He was called of God to be a messenger of God ahead of Jesus Christ to prepare the way for him.

And we, as followers of Jesus Christ, should be more like John the Baptist. We should be humble servants of the Lord Jesus, who take our calling from God seriously, and who are not in it for fame or for fortune, but only to do the will of God, to share the truth of the gospel, to expose the lies, and to lead people to genuine faith in Jesus Christ and to obedient walks of faith in their Lord in walks of righteousness and holiness. And we should be willing to have people think little of us and even to reject us for who we are.

Matthew 11:12-15 NIV’84

“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.”

Verse 12 NASB: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”

Some people interpret verse 12 that this is speaking about those coming against the kingdom of God, yet in context, it does not lend itself to that interpretation. For this is speaking of John as a messenger of God, preparing the way for Christ, and of the prophets who came before him, who were also God’s messengers. These men, in the power of God, advanced the kingdom of God forcefully, i.e. persuasively, powerfully, insistently, and urgently, and with much determination, faithfulness, and purpose of heart and mind.

And this is what we should be doing, too, as Christ’s Body, and as his representatives, and as his messengers in this world. Therefore, we should be safeguarding, upholding and defending the truth of God’s Holy Word against all evil and opposing forces, particularly against all that would malign the word of God and would try to bring it into disrepute, or that would try to distort the truths of scripture in order to deceive and to persuade people to follow after lies. We should be teaching truth in opposition to lies.

And we should also be maintaining and continuing in our walks of faith with Jesus Christ, and we should not be guilty of straying from his word or from our pure devotion to him. We should be faithful and steadfast in faith. Our very lives, as well as our words, should be influencing the world around us away from lifestyles of sin, and to faith in Jesus Christ – to repentance and obedience to his commands – all in the power and working of the Spirit of God within us. And we should continue in this until the day that we die.

Matthew 11:16-19 NIV

“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

“‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Many are these people in the world and within the worldly church who are like this generation Jesus spoke about here. They don’t understand why we, who are following our Lord, don’t do the same things as them. They may even heap abuse upon us because we are unlike the world around us, and we do stand out, and we are different – strangers in this world. They may even try to tempt us to do what they do, mock us when we don’t bite, and even criticize us for our non-participation with them.

Also, they may reject us and falsely accuse us of things we are not guilty of, but they will do so mostly out of ignorance and unbelief. They may twist our words and our actions to suit their purposes in order to try to discredit us, but to no avail, because if we are truly the Lord’s servants, then God is for us, his word is going out from us, and it will not return empty. Amen! And so we can take consolation in knowing that God is going before us, and he is preparing people’s hearts, and he will use us in other people’s lives.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Jn 17:14; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 3:13; Rev 6:9-11; Rev 7:9-17; Rev 11:1-3; Rev 12:17; Rev 13:1-18; Rev 14:1-13]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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