Jesus words can be lots of things—instructive, convicting, encouraging…and also confusing. There are many times I’ve read the words of Jesus and wondered what he meant or why he said them.
In Matthew 12:15-16, we are told there were large crowds following Jesus. And why not? Jesus was a miracle worker—a great teacher. Where ever Jesus went, there was bound to be a great show—and some great benefits! As these large crowds followed Jesus, he healed the sick among them. But on this occasion he did something worthy of head scratching. After healing the crowds, he warns them not to say who he is. Why is this? If Jesus is the son of God, the promised Messiah, why didn’t he want anyone proclaiming this truth? Isn’t that exactly what Jesus calls us to do?
What is Jesus revealing to us in this moment? I think what we can take from this is that when and how the truth is presented is just as important as the truth itself. It would be easy for the crowds to proclaim this healer as their king—the promised Messiah. But, likely they would be proclaiming him their king because of the benefits that a healing, miracle working, king can bring to his kingdom. The Roman rule was a heavy oppression on the people of Israel. How nice it would be to have a miracle working Messiah to ease their burden. Perhaps they could make Jesus their king of comfort.
First question: have you ever ordered something from an infomercial? Second question: if you answered yes to the first, have you ever ordered something from an infomercial again? When it comes to the promises of TV products…I’m a bit skeptical. Often the products we see on TV don’t end up being the thing we had hoped for. So, when Jesus quieted the crowd, I think he was turning off his own infomercial. Though the voices might rightly proclaim who he is, their idea of what that meant was mistaken. They would be giving some false advertising.
Jesus wants us to worship him as the son of God. He wants us to know who he is, and to know him personally, but Jesus never came to be a king of comfort—and he certainly doesn’t want us to proclaim him as the king of comfort. When we worship Jesus as the king who gives us all the blessings we want—we begin to worship the blessings and not the one who provides the blessings. Jesus won’t always heal us. He won’t always give us our desires. He won’t fit into our box of what we feel a Messiah should be. Jesus wasn’t what the people were expecting…he wasn’t what they had hoped for. No, he was far greater than that. What Jesus did come to do was bring a new kind of Kingdom. He came to transform our hearts and our desires and to turn us towards God…not towards a more comfortable life. Jesus turned off the infomercial because he had something better to give then what was expected—not a product—instead he gave himself.
Who is the Jesus you proclaim? Is he Jesus, the provider of comforts, or Jesus, the transformer of lives? Which Jesus have you given your life to? One’s an infomercial worth turning off, while the other is new life, adventure, and truth. If you’ve got the wrong Jesus, maybe it’s time to change the channel.