Message by Pastor Kent Munsey
"After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
An accent gives away where you’re from and who you’re connected to. The Gospel of Matthew reveals different “accents” that Jesus had. Jesus speaks with an accent of confidence and an accent of grace in Matthew 11.
1. Accent of confidence
John the Baptist knew who Jesus was. John was the one who baptized Jesus. He saw the Heavens open up, the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus, and the Father declare him his son. However, after being imprisoned, John questions who Jesus is. John sends his disciples to verify Jesus’ identity to which Jesus responds with an accent of confidence.
Jesus responds to John’s question by telling John’s disciples to report back what was currently happening - the blind seeing, the lame walking, and so on (verses 1-6).
Like John, we may grow fearful or insecure when things are not going our way. We may even forget what we already know about who Jesus is. When facing hard circumstances, we need to remind ourselves of who Jesus is--that he is good and will faithfully continue to be good. God orders our steps; all we need to do is seek him (Psalm 37:23).
When you’re a Christian, you should have an accent of confidence. We can be confident in Jesus no matter the circumstance.
2. Accent of grace
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
A yoke is a device used to guide a pair of animals pulling a plow or a cart. This wooden cross-piece can either be heavy and burdensome or well-fitting and supportive.
The Law is a yoke that was meant to help us achieve righteousness, but proved to be burdensome and impossible to fulfil. Jesus’ yoke is made-to-measure according to our unique testimonies. His grace is custom-fit for you.
The yoke of Jesus gives us an accent of grace and confidence. When we face the fire, we know that we can walk through it and not be burned.
Why do you think John’s confidence in Jesus faltered? Can you relate to John’s experience of doubt in the face of hardship?
What are practical steps you can take to protect and strengthen your confidence in who Jesus is?
Have you ever felt like going to church or reading your Bible was burdensome? Why do you think you developed that impression?
Jesus’ yoke is made-to-measure for each of us. Have you ever experienced a church service or a Bible passage where you felt like the message was tailored especially for you? What was the effect of this experience?