As the Old Testament ends, prophet after prophet is telling Israel, “God is going to allow the destruction you have brought on yourselves to come. Repent (change your thinking) that that time might be lessened.” Then he tells them, over and over, “There will come a time when I will come and restore you to myself.” Four hundred years later, it was time. He came, and they still were not ready. It’s been over two thousand years, and are we any closer to receiving Him? It’s little wonder we were not ready for Jesus when He came. Man, since the beginning, has not been willing to accept God for who He is. We always want the relationship on our terms. One way to summarize the Old Testament is through man’s three demands for God to dance to man’s tune – “Give us that Apple, give us the Rules (law), give us a King, anything but ‘You teach us who You are and lead us, Your way.’ ”
Now as I am reading through Matthew I see God’s loving hand reaching out to His creation again, and again we are pushing Him away. We are blinded again by our arrogance, stubbornly holding on to our expectations. All but one of these first thirteen chapters have reminder after reminder of the prophesies from the Old Testament being fulfilled before the people’s very eyes, and still they will not see. Then a turning point for me comes when Jesus says in chapter 11, “Sorry, you can’t make Me dance.”
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear. But to what shall I compare this generation: It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'”
He was not going to dance to their expectations. Rather than humbly being open to God revealing Himself to us as He is, we want to challenge Him to prove Himself to us by our standards. Like children challenging other children, measured as equals. “Show us a sign,” rather than, “Teach us who You are and who we are.” Throughout the rest of Matthew the people’s reactions to Jesus fall into three groups. You have the Pharisees saying, “By whose authority do you say these things to us or do these things?”; the disciples who seem to say, “Tell us more, we don’t get it!”; and the tax collectors, the prostitutes and the sinners, the only group who seem to get it, who say, “What then can we do to be saved?”
This last group seems to be the ones who see that trying to make it to God on their terms, by their performance, was not even going to come close. They seemed to see themselves as not even coming close to being equal to who Jesus was showing Himself to be. They seemed to have humble eyes to see they were lost and He was something completely different – not child to child. May we be as open today as those sinners, open to accept God as He reveals Himself to be and not allow our expectations to blind us to the point where we try to Make Jesus Dance….