Tag Archives: miracles

Is It Time to Give Up?

Jesus denounced the cities where most of his miracles were done. He said that it would be worse for them on the Day of Judgment than for notoriously wicked cities like Sodom.

Why is Jesus being so judgmental? Why is he condemning large groups of people? Not because they persecuted Jesus. They didn’t (that would come later). Not because they opposed Jesus or rebuked him. In fact, they were indifferent.

Jesus is denouncing these cities because they did not repent. Repentance is a change from disobeying God to serving God. It is turning away from a life of sin and turning to a life of obeying God. They declined.

Jesus gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, cleansed lepers, gave hearing to the deaf, raised the dead and preached the good news to the poor. The crowds were amazed at his miracles. But Jesus did not perform miracles in order to amaze or entertain or even to satisfy their curiosity.

Jesus’ miracles were meant to convince people that they should take his message seriously. They should turn from sin and turn to him for forgiveness. Cities full of people in Galilee saw his power and went home unfazed. So Jesus pronounces them doomed.

This is a sobering text (Matthew 11:20-24). It shows a side of Jesus that many wish to ignore or deny. True, Jesus is a friend of sinners. But he is their friend because he tells them the truth about heaven and hell. Instead of approving of their sin, he offers salvation from sin.

The cities in Galilee were given a great gift. They were eyewitness to the healing power of God. They heard the powerful preaching and teaching of Jesus with their own ears. But they failed to act.

The Bible tells us that when God gives more, he expects more. This was solemn news for the towns in Galilee. It is also solemn news for United States of America.

What other country in modern times has been more blessed by God? We have enjoyed religious freedom from shore to shore, Christian churches in every town, and Bibles on every shelf.

What will happen to a country that has been so privileged and yet turns its back on God?

Like Jesus in Galilee, Christians in the U.S.A. often meet with indifference when sharing the message of God’s kingdom. Meanwhile, the spiritual decline in our land is discouraging. It would be easy to give up our efforts to reach a culture that seems so determined to self-destruct.

But we must take our cue from Jesus. After denouncing the cities that ignored his message he did two things. First, he praised God. Jesus thanked the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, for his work in the world and his work in his own life.

No matter how difficult things may get, we must never stop worshiping the Lord, our Maker and Savior. He is our source of strength and inspiration.

The second thing that Jesus did was to continue extending an invitation to those who might hear and respond. “Come to me all who are weary and burdened,” he said, “and I will give you rest.”

Like Jesus, we must be faithful in offering the good news about God’s amazing grace. God’s word promises us that if we do not give up, at the proper time we will reap a harvest!

Let us faithfully speak the truth in love,

Brother Richard Foster

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The Truth of Christmas

A crowd of people asked Jesus what it takes to please God. Jesus told them to put their trust in him, because he was sent by God. The crowd wanted Jesus to do some sort of miracle in order to prove that he was worthy of their trust. Ironically, Jesus had fed more than 5,000 people with only 5 barley loaves and 2 fish just the day before (John 6). If that was not enough, then miracles would not convince them, so he taught them.

Jesus told the crowd that he is the Living Bread which came down from heaven in order to give life to the world. He came down from heaven to do God’s will. Jesus assured them that whoever trusts in him will have eternal life. He told them that on the Last Day he will raise up all who trust him.

They were skeptical. They began to grumble and complain about Jesus’ teaching. After all, they knew Jesus’ family. Wasn’t he the son of Joseph and Mary? How could he now say that he came down from heaven?

The people rejected Jesus because they could think of him only as a man, the son of a carpenter, not the Son of God. Apparently they were unaware of Jesus’ miraculous birth. They knew nothing about the wonderful events in Bethlehem a little more than 30 years earlier. They were blind to the power of his miracles and unmoved by the authority of his teaching.

Many of the people in that crowd were unable to see Jesus as more than a man. The idea that he came from heaven to give his life for the life of the world was offensive to them. But some who were listening to Jesus that day did not walk away. They knew that he was the only one with the words of eternal life. They had come to trust and to know that Jesus is the Holy One of God.

Christmas is a time to remember that Jesus is more than a man, that he is the Living Bread which came down from heaven, from God. Many people still cannot see him as anything more than a man, and so they have no real interest in the truth of Christmas. But some have come to trust and to know that Jesus is the Holy One of God, and we look forward to Christmas because it reminds us that Jesus came down from heaven to do God’s will, to give us eternal life. Merry Christmas!

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,

Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR

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