Matthew 13:52-58 Stubborn Unbelief

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

If we asked: “Who among us is a seeker of truth?” most people would raise their hand.
We like to think of ourselves as people who are interested in the truth
Seekers of truth-
May study great books of philosophy & religion, & spend thousands of dollars on education
May make pilgrimages to far away mountain tops, deep jungles, or isolated deserts
May go through a drug induced out of body experience at the hands of some shaman
May allow themselves to be possessed by so called angelic (demonic) spirits of wisdom
May punish themselves physically through fasting, solitude, silence, a meager existence
Seekers of “truth” so called or real, will go through many things on their quest to find truth.
But one of the hardest things to do is to put away your biases, pre-suppositions, and assumptions.

I. Jesus’ Message V. 52

A. Jesus Taught Both Old Truths & New Truths

1. The scribes were the teachers of God’s word
2. Those who truly understand the Kingdom of heaven are those who understand the previously revealed truths of the Old Testament, but they are also those who are willing to learn new truths from Jesus
3. Since the Bible’s completion, there are no new doctrinal revelations

B. Jesus’ Previous Teaching In Nazareth-Old & New

1. Jesus had previously taught in Nazareth- Luke 4:16-30
2. He had taught them about how He was the fulfillment of the O.T. prophecies
3. He then told them that they probably would not believe what He said
4. Jesus was right; they tried to throw Him off a cliff that day

II. The People’s Response

A. Astonishment V. 54

1. Astonished- ekplesso: to strike out, expel by a blow, drive out or away, to be struck with amazement, astonished, amazed.
2. Jesus’ words and works took their breaths away
3. They didn’t know what to say; they were so amazed

B. Refusal To Believe In Jesus

1. There was no problem in recognizing what Jesus was doing and saying
2. But they would not commit themselves to Him, b/c they knew about Him
3. They had already made up their minds about Him (Pre-suppositions)

C. Why Did They Not Believe? Vs. 55-57

1. V. 57- Offended- skandalizo: to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall. Metaphorically- to offend

a. Familiarity-

i. With the messenger (Jesus)
ii. With the message

b. Spiritual pride

i. They viewed Jesus as a common laborer
ii. They may have had thoughts that he was born illegitimately
iii. They knew that Jesus had no formal schooling in religion
iv. They thought themselves spiritually superior

2. Many people (unbelievers & believers) miss the truth about Jesus because:

a. They learned about him as a child, and now they know it all, or so they think
b. Some Christian treated them wrongly at some point, so they have decided that the truth could not possibly found from such a person

i. They begin to categorize all Christians or pastors as people who couldn’t possibly be able to share new spiritual insights with them
ii. Because of hurt, they carry that bitterness to Christians/churches

c. They are too familiar w/the person telling them about God’s word. They know their imperfections, and discredit them as valid messengers
d. They are a seasoned (old) Christian, with an intellectual working of the Bible, but whose love for God has cooled off over the years. They think they need no further teaching
e. They are a young person who has grown up in church. They have a lot of head knowledge, but very little practical experience. Their Christian faith has not yet been tested, and they think they know it all
f. Another difficult situation is when a Christian of lesser intelligence or accomplishment is speaking spiritual truth to a person of greater intelligence or accomplishment. The “greater” looks down upon the “lesser”

3. Jesus warned about being careful as we “hear” the truths of God

a. Matthew 13:9-17 We need to use care when we’re exposed to God’s word
b. If we are careful to hear, we will receive more
c. If we are not careful even what we once understood will be taken away
d. We will actually suffer loss regarding whatever understanding we had
e. Jesus spoke of those people whose hearts were hard 3:19
The wicked one would come and immediately steal away the word of God that had been sown in their hearts
f. Shallow hearts that don’t want to work through assumptions 3:21
g. Crowded hearts that are too busy to cast away pre-suppositions 3:22
h. Unbelief is not matter of lack of evidence; it is a matter of unwillingness
j. Are you willing to believe the evidence that has been provided?

III. The Result Vs. 57, 58

A. Jesus Was Not Believed In Or Honored
B. He Could Do No Great Work There

1. See Mark 6:1-6
2. Jesus marveled at their unbelief

a. Marveled- Jesus was amazed at their unwillingness to believe in Him
b. There was so much evidence which would lead them to faith

3. What is Jesus unable to do in your life b/c of your stubborn unbelief?