Matthew…what a neat gospel. This year I’m reading through the Mew Testament again. It seems to be going much quicker this time. Matthew took only 5 days to read. It was a lot to take in. But I noticed some things about it that taught me a lot more about what Matthew was trying to convey to his audience, and revealed to me what I have a tendency to do.
From the beginning of the gospel to the end, Matthew reveals misconceptions people had about Jesus. From the magi who thought that Jesus, them knowing He was a king, would have been born in a palace, to the Jews who were expecting a national deliverer, these misconceptions of the King was peppered throughout the book. They all had their own ideas about who Jesus was supposed to be. It brought a different understanding to what Jesus said, that no one knows the Father except the Son and no one knows the Son except the Father, and those to whom the Father chooses to reveal.
We do that a lot, don’t we? We have ideas about what we think God is like. We’ve heard things from others. Something goes well for us and we apply it to God. Well, maybe some of those things don’t fall in line with His attributes. Maybe we have some wrong ideas about Him. We tend to lean in one direction and neglect another because we don’t like it. We want the grace, but not the justice. We want the compassion, but not the discipline. We want the mercy, but on our own terms. Misconceptions.
It’s impossible to accept portions of God and not get the whole thing. We can’t only take the pieces we like an any relationship. Those relationships don’t last long when the rest of “who they are” shows up. What we get in God is everything He is and nothing less. We get the justice, mercy, compassion, anger, grace, jealousy, passion, love, and hatred all at once. The love for us and hatred of our sin, the mercy and second chance and the discipline in the consequence, the grace at the cost of His Son and the expectation of nothing less than holiness. Jesus didn’t shy away from revealing all that God was in the face of all those around Him. Jesus was everything God is wrapped up in a man, the kind of man most didn’t expect.
What’s scary for me is the thought that I might still not know Him as He truly is. If Jesus was the least, why do I ignore them? If Jesus is God, why do I fight Him? If Jesus reached out to the unlovely and the diseased, why am I still afraid? If Jesus was poor, why do I try and get rich? If Jesus spoke a parable against building bigger storehouses for stuff, why is still such a big deal for me that I have a bigger house, nicer car, and a retirement?
Do you have misconceptions about God? Are you as guilty as me of adding to His eternal attributes a character that doesn’t equal to His Word?