Jesus Trusted God’s Plan
June 26, 2022 | Jess Rainer
Passage: Matthew 12:15-21
Matthew, in his gospel account, gives us a brief pause from the activities and words of Jesus. Chapters 11 and 12 are showing us the rising opposition against Jesus. In the middle of all that, we get this beautiful portrait of Jesus. In the face of opposition, Jesus did what was unexpected from the perspective of His followers. Jesus wasn’t concerned with their expectations though. Jesus wasn’t following man’s plans. Jesus was following God’s plan. Jesus trusted God’s plan. You can too.
1)Roll with God’s plan. It’s better that way. (vs. 15-16) Do you remember what happened last Sunday? Jesus disrupted organized religion. We found out that Jesus wants your heart first. That the reason we follow the commands of Scripture is because we love Jesus. And because of that the Pharisees (the professional religious) wanted to kill Jesus. We see in verse 15 that Jesus kind of knows a lot. He knew that the plot to kill Him was forming. What draws me in is what Jesus did with that knowledge.
If you were one of the disciples, what would you have told Jesus to do? Some smart expert somewhere came up with the way we respond to crisis: Either fight or flight. We all know what Peter would have done! If I’m hanging with the Messiah and I think His plan is to restore political power—which is what most people expected of Jesus—I’m telling Him to go ahead and take out this little group.. Let’s set the tone and let them know we mean business! Let’s strike first and mess up all of their plans.
But what did Jesus do? “He left that area” In the first face of opposition, Jesus leaves. Why? 1) Jesus could have stayed. Jesus could have prevented His death. There was no amount of human force that could stop Jesus if Jesus didn’t want to be stopped. Staying and fighting wasn’t God’s plan. God’s plan was not to shed Roman blood, but to shed Jesus’ blood. Jesus continued to heal, Not only that, we see that Jesus healed ALL the sick. Even those who didn’t believe in Him. Jesus’ love and compassion was on display for all humanity. Jesus loves even those who reject Him.
On top of getting away from the opposition and spending time with the needy and hurting, Jesus wants to keep it a secret. Look at verse 16: 16 but he warned them not to reveal who he was. This again wouldn’t make any sense to the people who believed Jesus was going to overthrow the Roman government. At the very least, Jesus could have used His miracles to gain a broader following. Surely, Jesus didn’t want just 12 disciples. If Jesus was going to be King, He needed at least a couple million Instagram followers. I can imagine those miracles would make great posts:
- Put a little music overlay
- Even add a link to Jesus’ website
- “Jesus is true to size…”
Jesus’ didn’t make sense to His followers. But it makes sense to us because we get to see the grand narrative of Scripture. We know the cross was the plan. And Jesus knew the cross was the plan. Jesus trusted God’s plan when it didn’t make sense. You can trust God’s plan when it doesn’t make sense. We have to trust in the One who put the pieces of our life together even when it doesn’t make complete sense to us.
2)You’ll find God’s delight. (vs. 17-18) If there was any question from the people who were reading Matthew’s gospel for the first time that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah because he left the area, Matthew reassures them in verse 17. Matthew tells us that Jesus is indeed the Messiah and that He has fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy. It’s in these next four verses that we get a beautiful portrait of Jesus. Look at what the Father says about the Son starting in verse 18: 18 “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. The Greek word for “Servant” in this passage isn’t the usual word used for Servant. Instead the term Servant in this passage describes an intimate working relationship that resembles a father/son relationship. Not only is Jesus called to carry out Father’s plan, but the Father chose Jesus. “chosen” The Greek phrase used for “I have chosen” is not found anywhere else in the New Testament. It was a common secular term used to describe the permanency of adoption. God doesn’t choose between options like we do. When God wanted Ninevah to repent, He didn’t scan the lands and go, “Oh, there’s a few men over there I can use. Which one is the best?” God chose Jonah. The Father choose the Son for the redemption of all humanity. When you set your eyes on Jesus’ life, what do you ultimately see? God!
And what do you find when you trace Jesus’ life back to God? What does God say about Jesus? He says Jesus “pleases Him.” If you step back and look at this verse, there is an undeniable tone. The Father loves the Son. The Son pleases the Father. There is so much delight in Jesus. We see it in Matthew 3:17 at the baptism of Jesus: ““This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” We see it in Matthew 17:5 at the transfiguration: ““This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”
When we trust God’s plan and have a relationship with Jesus, God sees us in the same way. With Christ’s righteousness around us, God delights in us the same way He delights in His Son. Through Jesus, we become God’s delight. Jesus trusted God’s plan and found God’s delight. Do the same. Trust in God’s plan and find His delight.
3)You’ll find tenderness and mercy. (vs. 19-20a) I think for a lot of people, it’s a scary notion to bring all of your junk to God. That you’ll find a Father who is going to berate you and punish you. I don’t know anyone that enjoys getting yelled at in a derogatory way. I think that’s the fear of many. That what they did wrong will become a beatdown session. But’s quite the opposite.
What do we learn about Jesus in verses 19 and 20a? 19 He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. 20a He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. In biblical times, reeds were commonly used. Shepherd would make a flute out of a reed. But over time, the reed would get soft. It would start to bend or break, which rendered it useless. The shepherd would break it and throw it away because it was now considered useless. When the wick of a candle would burn to the end, it would no longer produce a flame, but only flicker and smoke. The wick would the thrown away. All of us have either been—or still are—those broken reeds and flameless wicks. Without Jesus, we are broken. But Jesus, in His tenderness, does not break the weakest reed or throw away the flameless wick. Instead, Jesus restores them. Instead, Jesus restores us. He takes the reed and makes it whole. He takes the wick and makes it burn bright. When in humility, you bring your brokenness to Jesus, you find healing. The humble find healing. If you want to trust God’s plan and experience God’s delight, then you need to let Jesus make you whole again.
4)You’ll find hope. (vs. 20b-21) If there was a hint of perceived weakness of Jesus in the previous verses, these last two verses show just how strong Jesus is. 20b Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. Jesus left the area because it wasn’t time for victory. And His victory would come in the least likely way: death on a cross. God’s plan was for the redemption of humanity. And Jesus was the only One that could carry that out. Jesus was the only One that could step into our place and take away our punishment. Jesus now sits as King. Jesus is reigning on His throne because of His victory over death and sin. When we trust God’s plan, we get to be a part of Jesus’ reign. That’s why we have hope.
Look at verse 21: 21 And his name will be the hope of all the world.” God’s plan ends with hope. When I say “hope,” it’s a not a wishful thinking type of hope. It’s not “I hope I end in heaven”. When I say “hope,” it’s a longing-for. It’s putting my hope in Jesus. It’s knowing that there is more than this life. It’s a trust in what’s to come. When you trust in God’s plan, you’ll find hope. It may not always make sense, but it will one day. And you can trust that because Jesus was, is, and will be victorious. There is a day coming when Jesus comes back and will take away all the pain and all the tears. Until then, we live in hope. We live in Jesus’ tenderness and mercy. We live in God’s delight. Because we belong to Jesus. Because we have the hope of Jesus.
This sermon series will a year long journey through the book of Matthew in 2022. These messages will examine the broader themes in Matthew like God’s character, Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promises for a Messiah, and the importance of internal integrity over external behavior. It lays out practical application points like the need for salvation, baptism, and repentance. It also provides answers to the question “Who is Jesus?”. It invites you to recognize Jesus as God’s Son and to receive him as Lord of your lives. This sermon series provides the groundwork for a clear explanation of the Gospel.