Tuesday, October 16, 2012

He who Rejects you....

Luke 10:13-16 (ESV)
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. [14] But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. [15] And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
[16] "The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me."
The one who hears you hears me. This is what Jesus says to those sent in his name. Of the 72 they went out speaking in his name, proclaiming the kingdom, proclaiming the gospel. They were his apostles. If the people rejected them, they rejected Jesus.
This is true of the Apostolic teaching In general. I sometimes hear people trying to drive a wedge between Paul and Jesus. This is especially true on unpopular issues that perhaps are not addressed as explicitly in the gospels as they are in the letters of Paul. People think they can reject Paul without rejecting Jesus. To them this warning applies. “He who rejects you rejects me.”
This can be a hard thing for pastors to realize also. We too have our calling from Jesus. We need to be true to his word. For only when we are true to his word does this saying apply and the converse too. When we stray from God’s word, when we let other teachings come in, then we no longer even give the people a chance to reject Jesus. People may even be very accepting of us, but it is not Jesus who they are accepting, but us.
That is an odd thing in all this. Jesus doesn’t say anything here about people accepting. The disciples may be received into a house. But he says nothing about the people accepting them. This warning warns of rejection. Probably because it is more likely you will be rejected then received. And that is the harsh reality of being a pastor. More people will reject than will ever receive. I think it also points to the asymmetry of the monergystic gospel also. When the gospel is received, this is the work of the Holy Spirit, when it is rejected it is our work.
Chorazin and Bethsaida it seems have rejected the work already. Jesus compares them to Tyre and Sidon, heathen cities that knew nothing of God’s word, his Torah. They would have repented Jesus says had the works that had been done in Chorazin and Bethsaida been done in them. Perhaps it is hyperbole, but then the whole city of Ninevah repented at what has to be the shortest sermon ever recorded. Chorazin and Bethsaida do not repent. They reject. They did so in the name of God. Yes, they rejected God in the name of God. There are different ways that the gospel is rejected.
The question arises as to why then the works were not done in Tyre and Sidon if it would have brought about their salvation. This is the type of questioning of God’s will that Calvinism brings about. I have to wonder about that, who says they weren’t saved? Who says repentance wasn’t brought about. When dealing with the pre incarnation days and the lives of non Isrealites the verse that constantly goes through my head is, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,” (Acts 17:30 (ESV) I fully expect to see Philistines and Caananits feasting with David when I get to heaven. I will not say that there earthly judgment so graphically depicted as what amounts to genocide in the Old Testament at all shows God’s eternal displeasure with them. Any more than the Conquest of Canaan shows God’s eternal pleasure with the Israelite nation. Temporal punishment and or favor does not indicate eternal punishment of favor. God says he overlooked in times of ignorance. But now he commands all nations to repent. And so he does.
The works done in Bethsaida, in Chorazin, in Capernaum, were done there to bring about salvation, that the promise to Abraham would become complete, be fulfilled, and all the nations of the earth would be blessed, not just Isreal. I do think this is a shortcoming in Millenial theology, they can’t seem to see that other nations are blessed as well. I have no indication that people today are saved due to ignorance. None whatsoever. The times of ignorance are over. God has been made known in his son.
Who God saves is his business, I will not be upset if universalism turns out to be true. But I have been given a glorious gospel to preach, a gospel that is the power of salvation, that does save. I do know that those who receive this gospel are saved and so I preach it. And as long as I stay true to that which Jesus gave, when I preach him and him crucified, well then it is not me who is rejected but Christ, when what I teach is rejected. But there is little solace in that. Great rejoicing though, when I see the gospel take root.

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