“When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.” When i read this, I take it as Jesus instructing and sending out the disciples and while they are sent out to do the work of ministry, He is going to their home cities to teach and preach. It seems almost like a mentality of, “You go take care of these places and meanwhile I have your back. I am going to make sure your families and friends are taken care of. ” It’s like His reaction to their stepping out is to take care of those they care about.
Meanwhile, John the Baptist, the one who recognized Jesus conception from the womb and leapt in his mother’s womb at His presence, the one who prepared the way for Jesus, the one who told Jesus that he couldn’t baptize Him because he was not even worthy to untie His sandals, the one who heard the voice of God (YHWH) speaking and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Jesus, the one who said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, that John; He has set for too long and has come to the point of wondering and doubting that which He had previously known beyond a shadow of a doubt. So he sends his disciples, the ones that are left, to Jesus to ask if He is the one. Jesus reaction is not one of disgust that John is even asking such a thing and reacting in such a way, but His reaction is to tell them to observe and report. That that is the answer for John’s doubt. There is no criticism of John, only comfort.
Meanwhile, Jesus begins to respond to the reaction of the cities He has already been to. He had preached, and taught, and healed, and done miracles, and called them to repentance, yet they had not. They had continued doing what they knew was wrong and treating Jesus teaching like a passing fad. So Jesus pronounces “Woe” on them. They rejected the message, so that reaction is going to affect their standing on the judgment day.
Finally, Jesus calls for a reaction from the people. The conclusion to the chapter is, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.”
So what is your and my reaction to His message?
John J. Camiolo Jr.
This is a chapter of foundations. After the flood, as each generation led the way to the next, there came a desire to protect and define each family. Cities and nations were built. Sons became fathers who had sons who became fathers who had sons… Some of these lines, families, and names were significant. Others were not. There were people who are defined by nothing more than a name. Others had legends and legacies that they left behind.
Many of the names i had to struggle to pronounce, but there were some that i knew well. It’s funny because as i was going through these lists of name and legacies and as i picked out those i recognized i began to realize something. Every name that i recognized, i recognized for the bad or evil that they did. I saw the Canaanites who lost their land to the Israelites because they were vomited out due to their own corruption and sins. The Philistines were enemies of the sons of Abraham for generation after generation. Nineveh was the capitol of the Assyrian empire which would eventually come through and destroy Israel. And of course Sodom and Gomorrah would be two cities destroyed by God in Abraham’s time due to their sin and corruption. They were so corrupt that we get the word sodomy from the name of the city of Sodom.
While there are many names and many people who started out on the right path with the right intentions and purposes, instead of holding to the true God that saved them in the flood, they pursued their own courses instead of God’s and they were overcome by their sins.
So that poses a question to think about. What prevents us, our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren, and on and on from the same fate? How do we insure that we don’t become the next Nineveh? Can we? Is it even possible to do?
In all honesty (to be brutally honest) i don’t know as that we can. I thing that the only things we can do are 1) to pursue God and 2) to lay the right foundation. Even then, there is no real guarantee that our children will pursue Him as well. Look at the lives of Samuel and David. Samuel found favor in God’s sight. He did what God called of him even when his mentor / adoptive father’s own children would not follow God. King David had the same problem. Even Solomon turned away from God and the nation was torn apart in the time of Solomon’s son (David’s grandson).
Does that mean that there is no hope and that what we do doesn’t matter? Of course not! Just look at Boaz (Ruth). He was a righteous man who did what was right in God’s sight. He became the great-grandfather of King David. It was from the line of David that Christ was born. Paul took in Timothy and trained him.
We must do two things. We must pursue God, and we MUST lay the foundation necessary for future generations. We cannot guarantee that our children and grandchildren will make the right choices, but we MUST give them a foundation that will encourage them to pursue God… not on their own terms, but on His.