SECTION 5: THE CLAIMS OF THE KING
MORE BIBLICAL HISTORY LESSONS
ENLARGING THE FAMILY OF GOD
Scripture To Consider:
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Jesus, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But Jesus answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’“
“The men of Nineveh will rise in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah: and indeed, a greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed, a greater than Solomon is here.” Matthew 12.38-42
Something To Consider:
The demand for a sign was a cruel and premeditated insult. It reflected upon the miracles already performed. And yet, it implied that Jesus lacked credentials and it assumed He was making claims He could not validate. However, it is echoed today by men who claim that they have not proof enough for believing in Christ, or that they are asking for evidence of some different kind to justify their unbelief.
Jesus replied that the trouble was with His enemies. Their hearts were not right toward God, or they would have accepted the testimony already given. He called them an adulterous generation, one unfaithful to God, and declared that no greater sign would be given them but one sign, the sign of His resurrection. It would be a miracle even greater than that of Jonah. They were more guilty than the men of Nineveh, who repented at the preaching of Jonah; for Jesus was and is greater than Jonah.
The example of the Queen of the South or Sheba condemned them, for she eagerly sought for the wisdom of Solomon, and Jesus was and is greater than Solomon. Are not these claims astonishing? In the introduction to this chapter Matthew records the claims of our great high Priest Jesus, being greater than the temple, and in our Scripture to consider He proclaims a greater than Jonah the prophet was there.
More Scripture To Consider:
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house [to the demon-delivered man] from which it came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” Matthew 12.43-45
Something Else To Consider:
To illustrate the unbelief of the people, Jesus tells the behind-the-scenes truth of the unclean spirit, who for a time left the man he had been tormenting but returned with seven other demons more evil than himself. So, the nation of Israel, possessed by unbelief, had been cured for a time and turned from idolatry, but God had not been admitted to the empty heart of the nation, and now their attitude toward Christ showed that unbelief possessed them more cruelly and completely than ever before.
It is a true story of many modern experiences. Men, women, and young people turn from sin and they find temporary freedom; but unless Christ Jesus is admitted to the citadel of their soul as Lord and Master, defeat and failure and more bitter captivity are sure to follow. The truth is, that reformation is not regeneration; resolution is not conversion; repentance may not be united with faith; and therefore, a form of morality, or of a so-called religion, or tradition is not true Christianity. And that is something else to consider!
More Scripture To Consider:
“While Jesus was still talking to the multitudes, behold His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’ But Jesus answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers!’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’” Matthew 12.46-50
Something More To Consider:
Matthew has emphasized the opposition to Jesus and also His unique claims. This seventh and last incident revealed the most trying form of opposition and implies the supreme claim. Jesus’ mother and brothers had come to take Him from His work, fearing that His mind had become unbalanced by His incessant toil. It is the most difficult and delicate dilemma in which our Lord had ever been placed. And yet, He could not allow His task to be interrupted and Himself to be led away like a poor sick child.
By a single stroke Jesus rescued Himself and at the same time gave a message of inspiring helpfulness to His followers of every generation. He did not nor does He deny the sacredness of natural ties, nor the tenderness of human relationships. He also did not disclaim His mother or His brothers. What He did was to enlarge the family circle and declared spiritual ties to be the most real and that all who do the will of God are most intimately related to Himself and to the family and kingdom of God.
However, it is to His disciples that He points most definitely as He declared, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Those who follow Christ are those who do the will of God; not those who reject Him or doubt Him or refuse to believe in Him.
There was no discourtesy shown to the members of His home circle, but there was a gentle rebuke which they alone understood, for they did not then believe in Him. His words also may contain a tender note of warning to some of His followers today. If we are true followers of Jesus, we must be doing the revealed and preserved will of God found within His written Word of God.
Jesus is also claiming for Himself a unique relationship with God the Father and is declaring that those most nearly related to Him and to His Father, are those who are found doing the will of His Father. Who then is the teacher who claims such divine perfection that those who are most truly godly are nearest to Himself? Who is this One who claims such a distinct relationship with the Father? It is the One of whom Matthew has here been writing, the predicted and yet rejected King, Jesus, the Son of Man.
A Few Final Words:
The gospels as well as the New Testament are full of living examples of more biblical history lessons. And yet, in actuality, the whole of the New Testament has become itself a well-preserved collection of more biblical history lessons. Matthew in our Scripture to consider began with Jonah the unwilling prophet of God who attempted quite unsuccessfully to run from his God given mission of preaching to the Ninevites. His stubborn temporary refusal and rebellion afforded him three days and three nights of private accommodations in the belly of a great fish.
In our text, Jesus confirmed the Old Testament biblical history lesson of Jonah to be an accurate history lesson of a lifetime for all who have ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the church and Berean style believers who are willing to study to show themselves approved of by God.
Jonah, who was not at first willing to obey God’s command, was an absolute opposite portrait of Jesus who was willing to obey His Father’s will and command in which caused Jesus Himself to spend part of three days and part of three nights in the heart of the earth after having died upon an old rugged cross.
Jesus’ obedience greatly influenced the enlarging of the family of God. Jesus’ example in life and in His death also vastly enlarged the family of God. And yet, biblical discernment must be accurately applied to Jesus’ final biblical history lesson in order for truth to rise inspiringly to the surface.
In our last lesson we realized the spiritual importance of the infilling influence of God’s Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus’ spiritual lesson of a person’s deliverance from evil influence without the infilling influence of God’s Spirit reveals a worse end result than the beginning.
In other words, the immediate joy of spiritual deliverance in and of itself is no guarantee of future overcoming deliverance according to Jesus. If a person remains spiritually empty after conversion, eventually evil, corruption, and a return to a lifetime of wickedness brings spiritual ruin where there once was the promise of redemption.
I know this is not a popular user-friendly concept taught by the corrupt so-called church of today, but according to Jesus, it is a biblically accurate concept, and one that Jesus thought important enough to discuss. Therefore, will we become simply hearers of these biblical history lessons? Or will we become faithful doers and true believers of God’s Word at all costs, even if it contradicts so-called religious traditions?
Jesus was not using Scriptural scare tactics when He declared, “And the last state of that man [or woman or young person] is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked [21st end time] generation.” Therefore, we must keep in mind, that God’s will is that all come to repentance and to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when that truly occurs, the family of God is greatly enlarged.
Our Father in heaven, thank You for the many biblical history lessons contained within the written and preserved Word of God. And thank You for allowing us to become among the ever-increasing and ever-enlarging family of God. May our deliverance from evil and early wickedness be an example to others as Jesus has become our true example of faithfulness. In Him Always, Amen!