It is in Hard Grace that You Become a Deep Souled Disciple

Passage Matthew 11:20-30

11:20 Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which he had done many of his miracles, because they did not repent. 11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you! 11:23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have continued to this day. 11:24 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!”

11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children. 11:26 Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will. 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him. 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

Soul Search Essay

In a prior Soul Search Essay on this passage, there was a statement, “It is in hard grace that you become a deep souled disciple.” Verses 11:25 – 30 have to do with hard grace when considered in the context of Christ’s mission. How can I make this assertion?

These verses reveal a deep conversation between Jesus and his Father. In this conversation, Jesus celebrates their relationship and the purpose given to him by the Father. Before that, however, Jesus celebrates the absence of critical insight and awareness for certain humans. Which humans does he cite as lacking this insight?    The intelligent and wise.  Why these two groups?  What is it about them that causes God to hide information from them?

They are the ones with answers.

The value of intelligence and wisdom is in supplying answers. Intelligence can give insight, but it is an insight heavily influenced by many factors.  We are taught to use intelligence.  In that teaching, we are trained to focus on some things and ignore others.  Who teaches has a major impact on how we use intelligence.  The teacher’s biases make a huge impact on the use of intelligence.

Wisdom is a slightly different animal.  It can be understood as the application of intelligence plus a large fund of knowledge to life in a productive way. Again,though, the source of the large fund of knowledge imparts a critical set of filters and assumptions.  For most Americans the fund of knowledge is created in education and life experience.  I mean the reason you go to school is to learn stuff, right?  Also, the value of a long time working in a field is experience, right?  So, we tend to ascribe intelligence and wisdom to those who can produce answers that agree with our filters (this is known as “confirmation bias”).

Wisdom can be understood as this, but this is not Godly wisdom.

Godly wisdom is the application of God’s revelation to life.  Godly wisdom is built on deep understanding of God’s revelation and intimate participation in the application of the revelation to life.

Why do I keep using phrases like “…intimate participation…?”

“No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him.”  Where did this statement come from?

It can from a very intimate conversation between Jesus and his and our Father.  The verses recount an intimate conversation.  No additional audience is identified.  In fact, this appears to be a prayer from Jesus to the Father.  A conversation about Jesus and the F

What about participation?  The prayer is a statement about Jesus’ participation in the Father’s plan.  Jesus acknowledges the authority given to him and then how he will use it.  Jesus is affirming his participation as a Kingdom citizen.

The Kingdom will be extended, because the Father and Son participate with each other.

Why point that out now?  Why point it out after pointing out how Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida did not participate with Christ?  This is a private conversation.  Why bring the readers into it?

This is fundamental to the Kingdom.  Bringing people back into the intimate conversation within the Trinity is fundamental to what the Kingdom is.  Back?

What happened in the cool of the evening in the garden before the fall?

What happened after the fall?  The intimacy was broken.

Everything became hard.  Discipleship is hard, because everything is hard.  We are saved, yet sinful.  We are healed, yet sick,  We are loved, yet lonely.  We are disciples, yet rejecteors of personal truth.

We do not like the inherent tension of the Christian life in this world.  We like answers.

Answers give seeming safety.  Answers give reassurance.  Answers give control.  Answers give power.  Answers give us hell.

Am I saying there are no answers?  No.  The primacy of answers are the issue.  The source of answers are the issue.  The spin we put on answers is the issue.  The denial of tension is the issue.

We do not want God’s grace to be hard.  We want it to be our answer.  We want grace to be our possession.  In that possession, we want grace under control.  No too hard.  Not so soft we cannot feel it.  We want…our…grace; not God’s grace.

Christ’s conversation is intimate, but “,,,hidden….” is a hard word.  God’s grace is hard.  It involves death and rebirth; not just future death and rebirth.  Death and rebirth happen here and now while we feel it.  Yet,…yet,…like Christ, when the offer is extended, we have the power to participate or not.

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