Earlier this week, as I sat down to spend time with my Best Friend, Jesus, the whisper in my heart said: Read Matthew 9:35-36. Here it is:
Mat 9:35-36 Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.
It was verse 36 that jumped out at me, but I also wondered about my inability to articulate the good news of the Kingdom. I couldn’t explain it to you in a few succinct words. I asked, “Lord, what is the “good news of the Kingdom?” (For those not familiar with “Christianese,” the “Kingdom of God” means being under the rulership of the one true God. The kingdom of this world is at the mercy of the devil.) This is what I got:
This good news is set in motion by the coming, the proclamation of the Kingdom by Jesus. My Son, My messenger to you, proclaimed the gates to now be open that all may come in. All who will, may come. I did not make man to perish, but neither did I refrain from making them though I knew from of old, from before the foundations were laid for the circling of the stars, who would and who would not obey My love.
No, the invitation to come into the light is not to all, but only to those who will. All who will may come. The good news is simply that, if you would like to, you may freely take the water of life and live. It is true that no one can enter My Kingdom without leaving behind his old life. You may not bring the customs and ways of this world’s king into My Kingdom. No one, seeking to cling to the ways and the things of this world can enter my Kingdom. If My Kingdom were just like the kingdom of this age, why not stay where you are? My Kingdom is better because it is different–completely contrary to the kingdom of this world. No one can serve two kings. You must choose one or the other.
So the good news is, there is a way out. We have been promised acceptance into the Kingdom of God as new citizens–if we want it. Yes, there are conditions, but if you want it, here it is. Come and get it. (But you’d better hurry ’cause it’s going fast.)~~~Just my interpretation 😉
I asked, “What is this about being weary and worn out like sheep without a shepherd, Lord?”
Sheep without a shepherd wander from one hill to the next seeking solace, comfort, nourishment. They need to graze in green pastures ‘neith shady trees, but all they find are briers and brambles. There is one Shepherd. Many sheep, but only one Shepherd. My sheep, though, desperate to hear My voice, have wandered off after first one false shepherd and then another. They seek Me, but because they have not learned to hear My voice, they are at the mercy of those who, raising themselves up as shepherds under Me, try to lead them and fail.
None of them is the true shepherd. I alone am the Shepherd of the sheep. Others may try to fill in, but they only confuse and beleaguer the sheep and keep them from hearing My own true voice. My voice calls you to rest in Me. My voice is the voice of peace–not of condemnation, but of resting in Me. You may follow after an endless array of projects and programs–endless good things–but only one thing is truly needed, and Mary chose that good thing. You choose it, too! (Luke 10:38-42 Mary of Bethany sat at Jesus feet instead of working.)
Sit here at My feet and hear My voice, My people. Follow My example. As I live by My Father’s guidance, so follow My lead. I am the Shepherd of the sheep. Many things tug at you, pulling you this way and that. Sheep have limited ability to understand what is happening around them. They wander into all sorts of muck and mire, desert places where no good thing is, dangerous crags and treacherous rubble-strewn slopes. If someone calls, “Come over here,” they follow and are ensnared. I can lead you through the bewildering maze of busyness that is your lives. I know the path through. With man this is not possible, but with Me, all things are possible.
Look to Me. Ask Me whether to go this way or that. In every step I will guide you. Not so that you can gain the greatest earthly advantage (remember–you belong to My Kingdom now) but so that I can show you green pastures where you will find comfort and joy and rest for your souls. Clear blue skies, quietness. Shelter and the fragrance of our love. Sacred, sheltered, quiet ways of beauty and comfort and swelling joy in growing knowledge of Me, oneness with Me.
It is for this that I made you. Come and rejoice with Me, My beloved ones. We will covenant together and become one vast, holy, never-ending one.
God has mingled His Spirit with ours–we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. While we are not God, He has joined Himself to those of us who have believed, trusted, and submitted to Him. We are one with Him.
This spoke to my tendency to just say “Yes!” to anything that looks like a good thing. But I can’t know whether it’s a good thing that He wants me to do unless I ask Him. There are “good deeds” without number in this sad, fallen world, and God has assigned a limited number of them to me. He may have something else for me, or He may even say, “You’re doing enough. Come and rest in Me.” If we would do as Jesus did (only what the Father gave Him to do), we would be less weary and worn out. We would enter into His rest; the good in the good news of the Kingdom.