Matthew 16 – Are you (or do you need) a Faithful Friend?

Day 16 of #DailyMatthew.

I sometimes wonder what a frustrated Jesus looked like, two thousand years ago, as he walked the dusty roadways of ancient Israel.  What would it have been like to be on the receiving end of a deep sigh that escaped his lips?

That is not a picture of Jesus that we often think of, is it?  But as we notice in Matthew 16, Jesus’ repeated use of “Do you still not understand?” is an indicator of possible frustration.  His reasons are not described in the text, but for some reason or another, the disciples were not as far along their spiritual development path as Jesus would have liked.

I think there are at least two things we can learn about ourselves from stories like this:

  1. It is possible (and almost guaranteed) that at some point you and I will not be as far along our spiritual development path as we should be.
  2. However, it is equally as important to notice Jesus’ response to his disciples.  He reminded, he encouraged, he gave a new mission, and he challenged their thinking and assumptions.  But he didn’t walk away.

How often does your or my frustration cause us to walk away?  “Forget it, it’s just not worth it anymore.”  “I don’t know what else to do.”  “I’m finished with you.”  Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of someone else’s frustration.

Here are two takeaways.  On one hand, if you feel that your spiritual progress has been less that what it should be, be encouraged that Jesus will not walk away from you!  But on the other hand, if someone else’s spiritual development is not what you want it to be, relax.  Take a page from Jesus’ notebook and encourage, inspire, and challenge them.  Be a loyal friend to them.  But don’t walk away.


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