Good Timing, God's Timing
January 12, 2014
Topic: Sermon Passage: Matthew 4:12–4:15
“GOOD TIMING, GOD’S TIMING”
“Timing is everything.”
We’ve all heard that famous statement, which is TRUE in many ways. GOOD timing has often resulted in great SUCCESS – in athletics, entertainment, & business.
At the same time, BAD timing can have equally DEVASTATING results, & many examples of bad timing can be found. Here’s just a few:
In the summer of 2008, a young couple had been in their new, $300,000 home in England for 30 minutes before a freak FLOOD arose, destroying the house & all its belongings.
That same year, in November, the Republican National Committee issued a press release criticizing President Obama for visiting his SICK GRANDMOTHER in Hawaii, questioning whether the trip had been PAID FOR with CAMPAIGN funds. That same afternoon, the President & his sister released a statement announcing that their grandmother had just passed away.
The cover of the October 2008 issue of Smart Money Magazine declared,
Now is the Time to Jump Into Cheap Stocks, Funds, and Real Estate.” The issue was released on September 16, the same day the stock market started its WORST DROP since the Great Depression.
Less than 1 week after the U.S. government committed $85 billion to bail out AIG, company executives headed for a week-long retreat at a luxury resort & spa where rooms cost over $1,000 per night. The company paid more than $440,000 for the retreat, which included $20,000 massage & spa treatments. Later, AIG asked the government for ANOTHER $40 billion loan while gathering at ANOTHER luxury resort in Phoenix.
On July 24, 2001, Silverstein Properties purchased a 99-year lease on the WORLD TRADE CENTERfor $3.2 billion.
The point is, SOMETIMES, our TIMING is OFF. Sometimes, we DO something or DECIDE something or ACT UPON something at the RIGHT TIME, & in the RIGHT PLACE.
But, at OTHER times, our timing is TERRIBLE, resulting in embarrassment, financial loss, or even DISASTER. TIMING is EVERYTHING.
GOD’s timing, though, is ALWAYS PERFECT. This was true with the BIRTH of His Son. Gal. 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Here, in chapter 4 of Matthew, immediately following the WILDERNESS TEMPTATIONS of Jesus, we see AGAIN God’s IMMACULATE TIMING at work.
In these early days of His ministry, Jesus:
Was in the RIGHT PLACE.
He picked the RIGHT PEOPLE.
He had the RIGHT PURPOSE.
The RIGHT PLACE
V.12 – Jesus LEFT JUDEA following the ARREST of John the Baptist, not because He was AFRAID of HEROD or the Jewish RELIGIOUS LEADERS, but because He knew that the TIMING was WRONG to have a CONFRONTATION with them.
That confrontation would come, as it had to come – but NOW was NOT the time.
Galilee was a heavily POPULATED area, especially around the lake. It was the BREADBASKET for the entire area, & the Jews there were less SOPHISTICATED than their brethren in Judea.
V.13 – Capernaum was a THRIVING city. It was the city where MATTHEW had his TAX office.
Jesus spent a lot of time in Capernaum – but later, He would make this CHLLING declaration:Matt. 11:23-24.
The gospel writers tell us that some REJECTED Jesus because of the belief that the MESSIAH would not come FROM GALILEE. Ex: John 7:40-41, 51-52.
WHY then did Jesus spend SO MUCH TIME in Galilee? Vs.14-16.
Again, we see the FULFILLMENT of PROPHECY through the life & ministry of Jesus.
THIS ALONE should CONVINCE people that Jesus was God’s Son, fulfilling prophecy that was HUNDREDS of years old.
But the fact that Jesus focused on this area also reinforces one of the gospel’s PRIMARY TRUTHS: God’s SALVATION is FOR EVERYONE.
The Jewish leaders REJECTED this, being convinced that salvation was for THEM & for them ALONE.
But, as Simeon exclaimed in Luke 2, the Messiah was “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (v.32)
Jesus therefore WENT to the RIGHT PLACE - & He CHOSE:
The RIGHT PEOPLE
When comparing the gospel accounts, the CALLING of the DISCIPLES can become confusing.
In his commentary on Matthew, John MacArthur writes that there were 5 different phases of that calling:
The call TO SALVATION.
The call TO WITNESS (which we read of here).
The call to LEAVE their OCCUPATIONS & follow Him.
The call to PREACH.
The call to cast-out DEMONS.
The important thing to remember here is that God CALLS ALL believers in a similar way:
He calls us to SALVATION.
He calls us to SERVICE - & that calling should be constantly EXPANDING in the committed Christian’s life.
Vs.18-20 – it is important to remember that Jesus had all the POWER & all the AUTHORITY that was needed to have proclaimed the gospel BY HIMSELF – but that was not God’s plan. It wasn’t THEN, & it isn’t NOW.
V.19 – at this point, Simon & Andrew still did NOT KNOW Jesus all that well, but the call to fish FOR MEN must have seemed far more APPEALING & WORTHWHILE than what they had been doing.
The application FOR US is obvious: those who have BEEN CALLED are to BECOME CALLERS. 1 Pet. 2:9: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you should proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Notice that Jesus not only CALLS us to become FISHERS of men, but that He also promises to MAKE US fishers – in other words, He TRAINS & EQUIPS those whom He has called.
Then WE, of course, are supposed to TRAIN OTHERS whom WE have won to Christ.
Jesus also MODELED what a faithful EVANGELIST should be like:
He showed no FAVORITISM toward those who needed salvation.
He was SENSITIVE to the NEEDS of those around Him.
He usually called upon those He had called to PUBLICLY PROFESS their faith in Him.
He LOVED those that He sought to win.
He TOOK the TIME that was needed to faithfully witness.
Simon & Andrew’s RESPONSE is significant: v.20. When a DISCIPLE FOLLOWS his teacher, that means that he is committed to IMITATING him.
Vs.21-22 – think of some of the DEFICIENCIES & WEAKNESSES of the men that Jesus called:
They had little EDUCATION.
They had probably had little RELIGIOUS TRAINING.
They were often SELF-CENTERED, & SELF-RIGHTEOUS.
They demonstrated PRIDE & WEAKNESS, & they were sometimes COWARDS.
In other words, they showed little POTENTIAL for routine DEPENDABILITY, much less GREATNESS.
Jesus, though, CHOSE THEM – He chose NONE of the Jewish RELIGIOUS leaders, which had to have reinforced their HATRED of Jesus.
Jesus chose some UNLIKELY people to follow Him – but they were the RIGHT people.
Finally, Jesus demonstrated:
The RIGHT PURPOSE
What primary ACTIVITIES comprised the MINISTRY of Jesus Christ? Three:
TEACHING: v.23a – the phrase “went throughout” indicates that this was a CONSTANT ACTIVITY of Jesus.
He taught THROUGHOUT the region, but He concentrated on the SYNAGOGUES.
Practically every town & village would have a synagogue, & they functioned as the COMMUNITY CENTER. Early in His ministry, Jesus was apparently WELCOMED in most synagogues (other thanNazareth!).
“Teaching” refers to the basic EXPOSITION of scripture – reading & explaining the text, section by section, even verse by verse.
PREACHING: v.23b – to preach means to HERALD, or to cry out.
V.17 – preaching is a DECLARATION. It is not a call to DEBATE issues, but to DECLARE the TRUTH.
We EXPLAIN when we TEACH, while we EXCLAIM when we PREACH.
As with John the Baptist, Jesus preached primarily of the URGENT need for REPENTANCE,because the KINGDOM of HEAVEN was near.
Remember though that Jesus was preaching the GOSPEL, & the gospel is GOOD NEWS.
The good news was that He was the KING who had come to BRING PEOPLE INTO His KINGDOM.
Col. 1:13-14: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
The MESSAGE that Jesus declared should have been SUFFICIENT PROOF that He was God’s promised MESSIAH, but that truth was powerfully REINFORCED by the many MIRACLES that He performed.
Heb. 2:3-4: “how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”
The MIRACLES that Jesus performed were a FORETASTE of what life IN HIS KINGDOM would be like.
V.24 – in this verse, Matthew records 3 specific types of healing performed by Jesus:
“those oppressed by demons” – many of the afflictions suffered by the people were CAUSED by DEMONS.
“paralytics” – whether the problem was PHYSICAL, MENTAL, or SPIRITUAL, “he healed them.”
What did the MIRACLES of Jesus PROVE?
They proved that He was indeed DIVINE.
They proved that God CARES for those who suffer.
They proved that the promised KINGDOM was a REALITY: Matt. 9:35; 10:7-8; 12:28.
What CHARACTERIZED the HEALING ministry of Jesus?
He usually healed IMMEDIATELY.
He healed COMPLETELY.
He healed EVERYONE who came to Him.
He healed the MOST SEVERE of problems – INCLUDING DEATH.
V.25 – as Matthew records, the early ministry of Jesus resulted in GREAT FAME for Him, as well as for a GREAT FOLLOWING.
These “great crowds,” though, while certainly not being OPPOSED to Jesus, were not all COMMITTED FOLLOWERS of Him either.
Surely, though, MANY who followed Him were not only TAUGHT & HEALED; they were SAVED as well.
Tragically, however, we know that MOST of Israel DID NOT repent & believe in their long-awaited Messiah.
Today, the KINGDOM of Jesus Christ is WITHIN the HEARTS of those who believe in Him.
SOMEDAY, He will RULE ALL – all of Israel, & all of the world; TODAY, He rules in the lives of those who LOVE Him & BELIEVE in Him.
GOD’S TIMING is PERFECT!
Jesus went to the RIGHT PLACE.
He called the RIGHT PEOPLE.
He fulfilled the RIGHT PURPOSE.
Has the TIME COME now for YOU to BELIEVE in Jesus, to LEARN from Him, & to TELL OTHERS about Him?
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2b)