Receive the new wisdom
Matthew 13:51-58; BCBC/IOUC; 3/7/2021; Rev. Paul Wang
The challenge of gospel starts with receiving the new wisdom, right? Disciples facing the Christ started with “not understanding”. The Bible says it is because disciples always couldn’t understand, Jesus asked “do you still not understand”. Let’s see the first point:
A humble person with light talking
Who is Jesus? During that time, people’s impression of Jesus stayed at “the son of Joseph” or “a carpenter”. In the other word, a humble person.
1.1 Strangeness in familiarity
After Jesus started his missionary journey, people including disciples didn’t really know him, would you agree? They lived, ate, preached and suffered together with the Lord, but who is Jesus? In verse 51, what does the phrase “all these things” referring to? It refers to the judgment, the end of Heaven and Hell. Disciples said: ”we understand.Yes!” How about you? Did you understand? Who said it? It was just a carpenter’s word. Isn’t he a Nazarene? How could a good person come from Nazareth? Can a filthy mouth utter decent language? How could a pastor from Dallas receive an international church’s vision? How could offline churches receive the mission of online churches? Can the thing I am used to be replaced by what I am not familiar with?
1.2 Despising in local place
People tend to despise in local place. Jesus was a carpenter like his father. The local people looked down on the tradition of generation after generation. There was no imperial exam or no college entrance exam. The social structure is dragon born dragon, chicken born chicken, and the mouse’s son can make a hole. A farmer’s child who stands out by studying and became an outstanding person, returned home after getting fame and brought glory on his or her ancestors. After returned the hometown, childhood friends were still the same. Jesus was talking about how hard to change people’s traditional point of view. They could never believe there was the calling of eternal life near the seashore of Galilee. We might also failed to realize God is using this pandemic to expand his heavenly kingdom, according to Act ch1-8’s context to extend the tentacle of the gospel.
1.3 Ease in the habit
Why work so hard? Living in Jerusalem is enough. There is nothing in Judah’s plain, Samaria is hybrid, walking in there is disgusting. And go to the end of the world? No way! I will just buy a flight ticket for my pastor and send him there. I can also support more missionaries. Isn’t this the situation of the church for many years? Jesus wants us to stay awake and not to fall into temptation. Our despising of God is preparing for Heavenly Father’s despising of us later. Our ease in a habit is enough to destroy our whole life system so someday the Lord would say “I don’t know you”! Instead of repenting with a broken and contrite heart but getting even worse you are storing up God’s wrath. You should listen to these words if you have ears. Let’s see the second point.
Perceiving God’s truth
Have you ever thought why Jesus’ parables brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old? Why just brings out the new thing? This is God’s mercy and His wisdom.
2.1 Disciples should be teachable
Our understanding of teachers of the law are mostly based on bible studies, right? Anyway they are all bad. However, in this parable Jesus called them “who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven”. Don’t you think it is strange? Strange, but not that strange. The mission for them is to transcribe, transmit and interpret Bible. They were like today’s missionaries, or teachers in a seminary. They were disciples and teachers for disciples. The preposition of being a disciple is teachable. In the other word, disciples are students. A person who is not teachable could never be the Lord’s disciple. Of course, being teachable is hard and need to pay for the price. Including persevere in studies in spite of hardships, rack one’s brains, studying at the desk, well-read all kinds of book, and nit-pick on words, right? Do you think Bible authors are people who can do nothing but eat and drink, loaf all day, careless, and profit by other people’s toil? Do you think they don’t need to study, but could have full inspiration while writing, and the sermon would miraculously appear on the table? Who have this unrealistic idea? Wake up!
2.2 Gaining new insights through reviewing old material
Taking out of the storeroom means it is the lord’s preparation in Jesus Christ, and it is before the world is created. Taking out what? The Bible says it is new and the old. From the context, new is gospel, salvation, eternal life and heavenly kingdom. Old is the judgment, eternal death, corruption and hell. Jesus didn’t say much, but he means: you teachers of Israels should know. Don’t think you could gain eternal life by changing your identity as Jews. What I’m saying is not groundless. Unhealthy trends and evil influences have blew to today’s world. People thought there are other ways to eternal life other than Jesus Christ.
2.3 It is a must to know the Savior
In Jesus’ parable, he just mentioned that disciples should serve. “Like the owner of a house”. House is the house if the God, which is the church. Jesus used owner of a house as the parable of Himself. This is very meaningful. The owner of the house is all connected, inseparable. You could not believe in the owner of the church but never go back to the church or belong to any churches. On the contrary, you say you believe in the Lord would be empty. He is the true vine; we are the branches. Could branches be separate from the vine? Could a believer not go back to the church? Let’s see the third point.
Hard to distinguish new and old
This is the difficult point in today’s sermon. Jesus is the gospel of the Heaven and a new thing God wanted to do. He chose to come to Israel.
3.1 Wisdom in the humbleness
God is the wisdom. He could just claim himself as the wisdom. If He is God, how can he be baptized? Don’t forget the Bible say he is the path. He is showing the path to the heavenly kingdom and the home. Wisdom is in the humbleness only. This is the God’s will. He didn’t just say it but also lived it out. He was baptized, so you and me have no excuse to be not baptized. God higher the humble people and strike the arrogant people. What is your choice?
3.2 Detesting in familiarity
Other than rational thinking, there is emotional filtration. Standing in front of Nazarene, that is a carpenter and a carpenter’s son. In people’s eyes, they are not whom they want to be familiar with. My friend in French send his child to a school to studying which rich and noble people’s children. He is also a pastor. My friend in the US also send his kids to private school paying high tuition. What do you think? What school would Jesus go to? Do you know low social status would make others upset?
3.3 Ordinary in the unbelief
The Lord has been hated by this kind of people. He even mentioned us: “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home. (Matthew 13:57b)” From OT to NT, prophets and pastors are disgusted by people in his hometown. You detested me, so I would not do miracles. I could have abilities in ordinary state. So if your pastor has ordinary preaching sermon and no mighty power, maybe you are detesting your pastor?
How to receive God’s wisdom? How could we despise a person’s words by his humbleness? We must learn to be teachable in order to know the truth, and not being lazy and take the shortcut！From the Old Testament to recognize the new conception of the gospel is God’s children’s responsibility.