“He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.”
In Matthew 23, we’re confronted with a list of “woes” as Jesus, in righteous anger, aims His verbal arrows straight at the heart of the Pharisees’ hypocrisy. Time and again, they were offered the light, and again and again, they rejected it. As the passage closes, we see the effect of all this rejection come pouring out of our Savior.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” MATTHEW 23:37
Scripture makes many promises. One of them is that some day, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (PHIL. 2:10-11). In Revelation, we’re told, “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all peoples on earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen” (REV. 1:7).
Our own age is conflicted and confused about Jesus. Some say He was “a great moral teacher,” and the Lord of the universe – the One to whom we owe our very existence – is downgraded to one of many great spiritual leaders.
By the grace of God, Blaise Pascal, the great French mathematician and thinker, was enabled to see through those lies and to have a profound encounter with Christ on November 23, 1654. In his own words, he experienced a “definitive conversion” during a vision of the crucifixion. He sewed a handwritten description of the experience inside his coat and carried the parchment with him for the rest of his life. The description begins:
“From about half-past ten in the evening until about half-past twelve . . . FIRE . . . God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and not of the philosophers and savants. Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.”
This Sunday, Erik Thoennes will expound on the following text from John 1:
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” JOHN 1:9-13.
Blaise Pascal was one of those who did receive Him. His account of his revelation continues:
“So I hold out my arms to my Redeemer, who, having been foretold for four thousand years, has come to suffer and to die for me on earth, at the time and under all the circumstances foretold. By His grace, I await death in peace, in the hope of being eternally united to Him. Yet I live with joy, whether in the prosperity which it pleases Him to bestow upon me, or in the adversity which He sends for my good, and which He has taught me to bear by His example.”
Paul tells us, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 COR. 6:2). Be praying that there will be ears to hear as Erik preaches, that God will bring hearts that are open to receive, and that one of those hearts will be yours.