hard hearts

The Gospel is called a scandal and a stumbling block for good reason.  This from Martin Franzmann in his great book, “Follow Me – Discipleship in Matthew’s Gospel” from CPH – get it.

There is a judgment more mysterious and more fearful than that which Jesus describes in terms of the eschatological (end time) terrors of the fiery furnace and the weeping and gnashing of teeth. This judgment is no remote event which a man may shudder at but can forget again. This is a judgment here and now, and all the more terrible for being unperceived even by those whom it strikes. This judgment takes place quietly but inexorably in and by the very proclamation of the Kingdom, in and by the good news of the days of the Messiah. This judgment has its dynamic in the fact that the good news of God is both “to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life” (2 Cor. 2:16). The good news of the last days is pure sunlight; the judgment lies in the fact that in the face of man’s rejection of it.

The sunlight on the garden Hardens,

and grows cold.

The sun does not disappear, and its rays are not withdrawn. The sun remains, but its rays get a hard and destructively cutting edge. Man is destroyed by what God sent to save him. This judgmental character of the Gospel proclamation is twice touched on in the narrative which precedes and leads up to the parable chapter. The first occurrence is in Jesus’ thanksgiving to the Father (Matthew 11:25- 30). He thanks the Father for “failure”: “I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes” (11:25). “These things” all that Jesus has and can give in virtue of His absolute and unique communion with the Father (11:27): the revelation of the Father, rest for men’s souls, His kindly yoke that puts men’s harassed lives in order, these things are hidden from the wise. They are not hidden by Jesus; He has taught them plainly and openly. The Servant- Messiah does not execute judgment, although He is the occasion of judgment. These things are hidden from the wise, not because they are absent but because they are present. They are present in one who is “gentle and lowly in heart” (11:29) and therefore incapable of impressing the wise as they want to be impressed and as they think they ought to be impressed. And so the quiet judgment of God gives the wise what they desire. They do not want to see; they shall not see. They want to walk by the light of their wisdom; the light of their wisdom they shall have, while the sunlight of the Messiah hardens and grows cold about them.