In the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew, the people of Israel didn’t hear from God. We’re talking about 400 years of silence. 400 years! From our perspective, that’s the 1600s to today. It was as if God ceased to exist in the land. It was turmoil.
As I know God right now, it would be incredibly bad if He was quiet for 400 years. Think about society. People who don’t believe in God think He’s always silent, right? But people that do believe in God know the power of what He does. We know how He keeps order. Can you imagine what it would be like if we couldn’t hear His voice in this society right now, with what we’re doing, with what’s going on in the government and the world? This would not be good. There would probably be no one left on the earth.
But let’s go back to Biblical times. For 400 years, God was silent. And then all of a sudden Jesus was born. Things started to happen! Here was this guy, claiming to be the Messiah. Imagine how that felt for the religious leaders of the day. For 400 years, they didn’t hear from God. And then out of the blue, this guy comes along saying He’s the Messiah. He’s saying that He’s going to die. He’s saying that He’s going to resurrect. I can see religious leaders being pretty upset about that.
You can hear them now. They looked at Jesus and said, “I’ve been living my whole life in the Temple and I haven’t heard God. I’ve been serving God, and my ancestors have been serving Him for 400 years, and we heard nothing. Now this guy Jesus comes down and claims to be God?”
Jesus went to the people that were considered “sinners” or “non-religious.” They were a lower class of people, excluded by the high and mighty. And Jesus made them feel really good. They absorbed His love and they said, “This is awesome.”
And Jesus only preached good things. He only said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He brought hope to a lot of people. Imagine what it was like for the common folk. They hadn’t heard from God either. And here came Jesus, making them feel so good. He made them feel wanted, and needed, and loved, and forgiven. He made them feel like they’re not bad people. They looked at Jesus and said, “This guy’s healing my kid.” They looked at Him and said, “This guy’s making me walk. I haven’t walked my whole entire life and now I’m walking. And all He’s asking me to do in return is to love my neighbor as myself and love God!”
I think it’s a pretty simple message.
But the religious leaders said, “What? Love my neighbor as myself? No, no. I can’t do that. First I have to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind. But the next commandment is not ‘love my neighbor as myself.’ It’s ‘Thou shalt not have graven images.’ And I have these other things to do too. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not…”
They’re living by commandments and Jesus says, “That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I haven’t come to break those laws. I’ve fulfilled them.”
I can see stones being thrown!
See you Thursday.