Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Jews Reject Jesus Despite the Many Miracles

Today I read Matthew 11. Before I was a missionary I used to wonder why people think that there are no more miracles and that there are no more prophets that are called and it seems the most natural thing to people that the Savior would call prophets for thousands of years, and then just stop. Today, it still confuses me to be honest. However, I learned as a missionary that for most of the people, it is because of verse 13 of this chapter.

Verse 13 of this chapter states, "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John". There are a couple of other very similar verses to this one which I have heard quoted but essentially the people are knowledgeable in the scriptures cite that John was the last prophet. Now, the way this verse reads is the King James version of verse 13, but there is actually a JST of verse 13 which reads, "But the days will come, when the violent shall have no power, for all the prophets and the law prophesied that it should be thus until John." Verse 13 is actually a continuation of verse 12, not a separate thought like it appears to be. This is just another example where things were lost from the Bible which have served as a stumbling block for man. John was not the last prophet, he was not even the last prophet for that dispensation.

I have often wondered, just what was wrong with the Jews at the time of Jesus' mortal ministry? I mean, were the type of miracles that the Savior was performing just THAT commonplace? Jacob in the Book of Mormon tells the Nephites, and us, that if the type of miracles that Jesus performed had been done in ANY other place among any other people, they would recognized Jesus for who He was and repented of their sins. But not the Jews in Israel. Jesus Himself says that if the quantity and quality of miracles that were performed in Capernaum were done in Sodom, Sodom would have repented and still been a city in Jesus' time! Now that's a bold statement because as we all know, Sodom was destroyed in one of the most painful ways possible, with flaming brimstone falling from the sky. And yet, Jesus boldly declares that it could have been saved just by showing the miracles He was performing on a daily basis.

I don't have an answer for just why the Jews would not repent except that they were looking for a military Messiah to "save" them from the Romans. Now, to be fair, some did believe and many, many were converted, but wouldn't you think that the entire society would have been converted? And yet is it so hard to believe that others would not believe? 500 people saw Jesus alive after He was crucified. How many people have been and walked on the moon now and yet there are STILL people who doubt it happened? Is it really so hard to believe that people rejected the Savior despite the testimonies other gave of Him? No, it's not hard to believe. Because the natural man is distrustful and does not understand the things of the Spirit and thinks that everyone is trying to pull a fast one on him/her.

So, sad to say, no it is not strange that despite so many witnesses, the people as a whole did not believe in the Messiah. I mean, would most people believe these days, despite how many witnesses there were, if such miracles were being performed today? Some would, but most would be skeptical and even if they saw them first hand would react like the pharisees did and state that it must be some kind of trick. It's sad, but true. I think that is why the second time, the Savior will come in His glory so the whole world will know and cannot deny that it is He.

This chapter is also one of the first instances of the Savior declaring His gospel to us, in the scriptures. Stating that His yoke is light and He will give us rest if our burdens are heavy. And such invitations are still available to us today. His hand is stretched out still and He is waiting for us to come unto Him. If we do, we will find rest from our worldly cares and sorrows. Anyone who has put that promise to the test can testify of that! Until tomorrow.

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