Jesus divides people


Matthew 11-12 shows the kind of division that Jesus brings among people.

Jesus is the Messiah spoken of by Isaiah – the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. As Jesus said, “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.”

Jesus compares his generation to children playing in the marketplace – when it was time to play funerals (repenting with John the Baptist) they would not, when it was time to play weddings (feasting with the Messiah) they would not.

Jesus compares the Jewish towns who would not receive him to the classic idolatrous cities of the Old Testament – Tyre, Sidon, Babylon, Sodom.

But with regard to those who do receive him Jesus says, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will … no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke (my teaching) upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke (teaching) is easy, and my burden (teaching) is light in weight.

This is followed by Jesus’ teaching about mercy which is opposed by the Pharisees – whether when the disciples eat grain or when Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath.

All that Jesus does fulfils Isaiah – “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

Jesus is opposed but his driving out demons demonstrates that he is the one who conquers the strong man (the evil one) and plunders his house.

Jesus is opposed but he is greater than Solomon’s wisdom and Jonah’s preaching.

Jesus’ generation is like a man from whom has been driven a demon. They have experienced something of being made whole but in the end their rejection will lead to sevenfold indwelling of evil spirits.

Whereas Jesus’ disciples who do the will of the Father in heaven is as Jesus’ brother and sister and mother.