Not quite what we want

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Think about your own expectations of Jesus. Ask him to show you today what he offers.

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Bible passage: Matthew 11:20–30

Woe on Unrepentant Towns
 20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
The Father Revealed in the Son
 25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

   27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

   28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Rejecting Jesus
Probably most fathers want their daughters to marry well and be loved and cherished. So perhaps people listening to Jesus wouldn’t have wanted him marrying their daughter – yesterday’s reading ended with him bitterly saying they thought he was Not Quite What We Want, that he drunkenly mixed with undesirables (v 19)! So he berated them (vs 20–24). These are people he knew well – he had lived in Capernaum (v 23; 4:13), and Chorazin and Bethsaida were nearby.

But perhaps they were disappointed in what Jesus said and did? He wasn’t what they wanted of their promised Messiah. So they rejected Jesus and his way of ushering in the kingdom; and they chose not to repent (v 20).

Humble King
Jesus spoke against them in some of the most challenging and judgemental words he is recorded to have ever used. They wanted a Warrior King, but Jesus is a Shepherd King. Look at verses 29 and 30. What words does he use to describe himself and his ways? If you use several different translations, you will find words such as gentle, humble, rest, freely, easy, refreshed, renewal, unforced rhythms, grace, lightly...

What is Jesus offering, to them and to us? How does that compare with what you want from Jesus?

Penelope Swithinbank


What do your friends and colleagues expect Jesus to be like? How can you help them to see Jesus as he describes himself, and to see what he offers (vs 29,30)?

Deeper Bible study

Three major Galilean towns rejected Jesus: Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. These towns were a few hours’ walking distance from one another and they were the privileged witnesses of the teaching and ministry of Jesus. Yet, they refused to respond to him and the life of the kingdom he offered.

Jesus compared Chorazin and Bethsaida to the two Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon, which were under God’s judgement according to the Old Testament (Isa 23; Ezek 26–28). He declared that both these Gentile cities fared better in judgement and would have repented had he preached there. Capernaum received the most severe judgement because it was the home of Jesus during his ministry in Galilee (Matt 4:13). Compared to other towns, Capernaum would have witnessed more of what Jesus did and yet refused to repent. The rebuke of Capernaum (vs 23,24) was taken from Isaiah 14:13–15, a prophecy directed at the tyrant king of Babylon who exalted himself only to be judged by God. Capernaum was heading down the same path; what was worse, even the wicked city of Sodom fared better in the judgement of Jesus.

The tone of these pronouncements by Jesus is not only shocking but serves as a wake-up call to those still refusing to repent. These Galilean cities were blessed to have witnessed the teaching and ministry of Jesus that many could only wish for, yet they squandered away this privilege. What about us? Will the church, entrusted with the responsibility of being witnesses to the gospel of Christ, be faithful to her calling? Will we learn from the mistake of these Galilean towns and use whatever remaining time we have to repent of our sinful ways and pursue godliness and righteousness? Or will we be known as the unbelieving generation to those who come behind us?

Kar Yong Lim

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Numbers 17–19

Acts 19

Prayer points

Look at the images below. As you do so, think about your town, nation and world. What signs do you see of the rejection of Jesus?

Spend some time praying for your community, the leaders of your nation and the world. How could you help them to recognise their sin and their need for repentance?


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The Cross has said it all – Matt Redman (from Ps 103)
Matt Redman & Martin Smith
Copyright © 1995 Thankyou Music

He is good
Kate Cooke
© 2009 Vineyard Records (UK/Eire)

  • Alan Pang | Monday, 05 March 2018

    Not sure what the comment of daughters marrying Jesus is about! Israel was dominated by foreign powers like Rome for a long time and longed for the glorious days of David. Naturally they expected the Son of David to deliver them. We all need to learn "man shall not live by bread alone ..."

  • DEREK FISH | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    How I love verses 28 to 30 Jesus promise of rest to the weary not by taking a holiday or by stopping work but rather by doing his work which is perfectly suited for us and by so doing we will find rest for our souls. What a wonderful promise

  • Oakley Bookworm | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    I found the prayer points photographs very helpful this morning. Oh, how I love Jesus, the Gentle Shepherd, and want to love Him more.

  • Thelma Edwards | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    Over the last few weeks/months I have been learning more about God's heart of love, going deeper maybe, reflecting and discovering a different way to view what Jesus said and did. His motivation always out of His Father's heart, the heart of God. Those strong 'judgemental' words spoken in today's reading I now see through this lens of deep love and therefore disappointment, heartache, passion, for these towns. I think it broke His heart that they did not accept Him. Everything Jesus said or did He did out of the heart of love, which was why He could touch the leper, eat with the outcasts of Jewish society, speak to the Samaritan woman at the well. Yes, He was always doing things that shocked the Jews, but I am not sure it was a deliberate aim to shock them, but the natural response out of His heart of love that saw them rejecting their Messiah and therefore not receiving their true inheritance. Jesus never thought of Himself or His reputation, He always acted and spoke out of a heart of love that is so big we can only glimpse its depth, and height, and breadth. "Break my heart for what breaks yours Lord". "Help me see through Your eyes"

  • Carol Pigott | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    Thank you all, Wordlivers, for the comments. I feed on them daily, as much as the Bible Studies, and have told others in my church and Bible Study group about Wordlive. (Everyone in the Group uses SU notes already). Some time ago, I tracked down Derek Fosters granddaughter via Facebook, and found his tablet was not working. Yesterday, we made contact again. Derek was pleased to hear Ruth and Rachel had been asking after him, and sends best wishes to all. His granddaughter asked if WL was on Facebook, as Derek had forgotten how to log in. I said no, and gave her the link. I suspect he has a new tablet, and lost his apps. His daughter has found him other daily devotions. I am not sure if he will be able to contribute to WL as before. Sorry this has been long-winded, I am known as a chatterer !

  • Angela Munday | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    Jesus offers everyone mercy, compassion and forgiveness; it is a truly selfless loving relationship that we can have with the Son of God and pass on to all we meet on our journey home. When we meet Jesus we are invited to change ourselves from the inside and grow into His likeness. We have been forgiven and must do likewise, there is no other way. Jesus has revealed God to us (verse 27) and His gentleness is ours to.......What a wonderful Saviour!

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    Jesus pulls more than His “share” of the load; therefore, our burden is light. What a faithful God we serve. To know Derek is still around, thanks Carol Thelma your study of God's heart recently is paying dividends. Thank you for all today's comments.

  • Roger Hall | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    The questions in my heart ring out in these words of Jesus! Woes to the towns where He has lived. Would my feeling that total commitment is micro management from our Father? Maybe, in the end, gentle answers for me means that I would be foolish to expect more than one person brought to repentance. Why are we beset by priests and bishops who have no ability to " turn many away from sin." As in the wonderful words of Malachi 2.? Is the Yoke Jesus talks about too easy? I suspect that an impossible task like a pilgrimage on our knees round the boundaries of the town? Is there a call for besieging the town in the way Jesus commanded the siege of Jerico?

  • Lynda Spencer | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    Thank you, DEREK for that important reminder that the Lord Jesus gives us a different sort of rest from that which the world considers to be 'rest'. It's not vacation and inactivity that we most need on a daily basis - it's rest for our SOULS! An inner peace and contentment, an assurance that we are co-workers with Christ and moving forward with Him. We might be physically bone weary in the work we are doing for the Lord, but if we remain yoked together with Him we will still be working hard, but the work will be manageable and the heart will be light while the soul rests easy! And a further thought, if we are yoked together with Christ we are for Him a captive audience! It's not possible to move away from someone you're yoked to. Pairs of oxen were harnessed together for hours at a time, neither able to move away from the other, so all the time we are yoked together with Christ we are a captive to whatever He wants to whisper in our ear, and we are able to share our thoughts and feelings with Him in a continuous flow of communication between us even in the busiest of times.

  • Lynda Spencer | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    It was also good to know that the other DEREK is well. Thank you, CAROL.

  • Gerald Leadley | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    CAROL, Thanks for your "chatter " this morning! The important thing is what you chatter about AND how lovingly you do it! God Bless you.

  • Barbara Sabin | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    CAROL we are all chatterers on this site we chatter about Jesus and it is good to hear the news about DEREK he always posted a Hymn and it was always appropriate. May God bless him. Jesus told us to share His yoke. There is an old legend that says Jesus had a carpenter's shop and on the wall was a sign which said 'My Yokes Fit' two oxen fastened together all day with a yoke which rubbed and caused friction and sores would be a painful days work. Jesus told us to work with HIM to let him be the leader.I ask Jesus to come and sit beside me when I pray every morning I talk to him and listen to him I ask His Holy Spirit to fill me afresh each day.When I step out of line the yoke causes me pain so I repent and keep joined to Him. I am so grateful that He sought me and found me. I add a collection of old photographs featuring the Salvation Army set to Joy Webb's 'Share My Yoke'. I don't have any information about the photographs, but each one tells an amazing story. A yoke, although constraining, allows a pair of working animals to carry a load effectively. Similarly, a life of Faith enables us to carry our burdens more easily, as well as the troubles of others. Jesus wants us to share his yoke - not to remove our problems, but help us carry our own burdens. Then we can help others.

  • Caleb Cheong | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    I am comforted and warmed by the thought that the Lord uses one hand to discipline(rebuke) me ,and another hand to bid me come to Him who is so kind and gentle and humble. Whatever the situation is, He has the best interest in mind.

  • Eileen Smith | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    Thank you BARBARA — not heard this for A long time— it blessed me as I’ve just listened to,it. Think the photos just showed so well the support that the Salvation Army has given to so many over the years

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    Comments show we are blessed to learn and grow together on this site. Thanks for Derek and his unique gift of choosing appropriate hymns daily. It is good to hear he is safe and well. I am pondering the way God uses our uniqueness to reveal himself. You can almost recognise the author of comments on this site without seeing individual names. May I ask, those who are undertaking Lenten studies or disciplines to share here with us their discoveries or thoughts (as Thelma has today). It is so encouraging. For me, as a Lenten exercise I have been endeavouring to set aside time to repose in Christian meditation and to be more alert to small lessons God is bringing to my attention day by day. For two weeks it has been a struggle and I have not felt much different. However, his week there is an increased awareness of God's boundless creativity. if he is charge, whatever happens I can be at peace for all will be well. I wonder in the last part of today's reading if Jesus is referring to the way renewed energy channels through you when you are in tune with Him filling you with enthusiasm, so it does not feel forced or like hard work but flows naturally, inevitably touching those around. What an incentive to keep company with Him! In our own strength, despite good intentions we can do nothing.

  • Rebecca Huie | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    Thanks, Carol Pigott, for searching for Derek Foster and finding him once again. We have all missed him. Is there any way he could be persuaded to return to WL, in addition to his current devotional site? Perhaps his daughter or grand daughter could help him with the app? It is a blessing to know he is well, but he is so important to us here. Please send him our regards and ask if he would consider returning. Blessings to all.

  • Eileen Smith | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    CAROL— I agree with Rebecca’s comment ( thank you Rebecca )

  • Paul Burkimsher | Tuesday, 06 March 2018

    I understood “daughters marrying Jesus” to be a reference to the fact that Jesus was not “respectable”. If he has become “respectable” now, maybe we should beware of what we have made him. It’ so easy to make God in our own image...

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