Wisdom is Proved Right by Her Actions
Hot dog water went for $38 a bottle at a street festival. The packaging promised Keto diet compatibility, encouraged weight loss, increased brain function, vitality, and younger looking skin. It was meant as a stunt to illustrate the role product marketing plays in our purchasing decisions. The vendor was just two bottles short of selling out. He sold over sixty bottles of the hot dog water.
Teachers of the law and pharisees would make a spectacle of themselves in the streets praying aloud, cutting themselves, and announcing their fasts. They were sure to attend only the most opulent dinner parties. They demanded respect wherever they went. The people feared these leaders, as they had the ear of the Roman government.
In Matthew chapter eleven Jesus asks, "What did you go out in the desert to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No." Jesus is referring to John the Baptist. "Then what did you go out to see? A prophet."
Have you wandered why thousands of people came to see Jesus? Why did so many go out into the wilderness to see John the Baptist? What did they offer that was so fascinating? How were they marketed (I say this with tongue in cheek)?
Jesus comments that this generation is always asking for a sign, but none would be given except the sign of Jonah (Luke 11:29). How many days was Jonah in the belly of the fish? Three. How many days was Jesus in the belly of the earth? Three. Jonah was sent to the Gentiles. He knew they would repent, but didn't want them to gain God's favor. This sign is also an illustration of Israel (Matthew 12:40-42).
Israel received prophets when they called out to God in distress. He would act out of compassion. The Pharisees and teachers of the law, of Jesus' day, pushed Israel to obey the laws given to them from Moses with the belief God would respond as he had in the past. With a prophet.
The irony, God answered with a prophet, the return of Elijah, John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Messiah (Matthew 11:14). Israel executed their Messiah fulfilling the prophecy of the prophets. They didn't understand what they were asking, worse they believed they held the answer, they were blind to what God was doing. Blinded by their pride. They put their faith in a violent interpretation of the Messiah.
The people came to see and hear substance. They were looking for hope. Jesus offered the promised Kingdom of Heaven before their very eyes. It was available to everyone. Not those who put on the biggest show, or those with prominent positions. The Good News or Gospel has always been for everyone wherever they are.
Your life can be better.
My life can be better.
There is a better way to live than the fake empty lies we have been sold (marketed). It's about our choice to love. Love against all odds.
Let's finish with here and now. I am afraid the Kingdom of God is being portrayed in violent ways. Churches have worked hard for centuries to control the message ". . . (even now) the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it (Matthew 11:12)."
Where is the substance? My fear is, similar to the Pharisees, we are relying on our pride while interpreting a violent Kingdom of God. We are missing the Kingdom of Heaven all around us while we talk about the 'by and by' or 'our reward in heaven'.
Look to the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). Jesus said we would know one another by our fruit (Matthew 7:16). Substance is in your life decisions. Live in wisdom bearing fruit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Meekness, faithfulness, and self-control. It's not the t-shirt you wear, the holidays you condemn, books you read, songs you sing, or the coffee you drink (tongue in cheek on the last one). It's the reflection of your life.
Stop condemning, stop gossiping, stop acting in revenge, or lashing out. Stop trying to control one another, let the Holy Spirit work. Love and discipline your lives in a way that glorifies God. He will reward you with a better and best life.
Wisdom is proved right by her actions (Matthew 11:19). Trust in the Lord and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:6). Follow the teachings of Christ; love your enemies, turn the other cheek, and sacrifice your desires for a greater purpose.
So not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs (Matthew 10:26).
May you see the Kingdom of Heaven all around you.
May you understand.
May you find your reward in the teachings of Christ.
In His service and yours