A friendly face
Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. – Matthew 22:16
15 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.
16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”
17 “I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
A story is told of an incident in President Thomas Jefferson’s life. He was traveling cross-country on horseback during the rainy season. He and a group of other travelers were traveling cross-country and came to a river that had overflowed its banks. Crossing the river was hazardous, all the more so on foot. The current was so fast and fierce that even on horseback, it was life-threatening. One after another, they crossed. A man without a horse needed some help to get across safely. He turned to President Jefferson and asked for help. The President consented, and the traveler mounted the horse behind Jefferson, and they safely reached the other side.
One of Jefferson’s fellow travelers asked the man: “Why did you select the President to ask this favor?” The man was dumbfounded. He had no idea that the traveler was the President of the United States. He said, “All I know is that on some of your faces was written the answer ‘No’ and on some of them was the answer ‘Yes.’ His was a ‘Yes’ face” (Charles Swindoll).
Could it be that the Lord Jesus Christ had a “Yes” face? Was He approachable and accommodating? His affability is seen in His relationship with children.
Luke 18:16 Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! The Kingdom of God belongs to those like these children.”
“In most ancient cultures, children were regarded as a burden until they were physically strong enough to contribute to the family” (ESV, Notes). Often religious leaders in ancient Israel held themselves aloof and put distance between them and the ordinary people, particularly children.
Luke 18:11 I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else.
They would often act as though they were too busy to be bothered. In total contrast, Lord Jesus Christ was welcoming and had a countenance that was inviting. His face said, “Yes.”
“It was the custom for mothers to bring their children to some distinguished Rabbi on their first birthday that he might bless them. That is what the mothers wanted for their children from Jesus. . . It is one of the loveliest things in all the gospel story that Jesus had time for the children even when he was on the way to Jerusalem to die” (Barclay).
REFLECT & PRAY
“The most significant decision I make each day is my choice of an attitude. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, and no challenge too great” (Charles Swindoll).
Father thank You that You have a “Yes Face.” May I be affable, approachable, and accepting. May I have a “Yes Face.”
Partiality is deprecated throughout the Scriptures along with its unproductive, iniquitous cousins, taking bribes and the perversion of justice.
Deuteronomy 16:19 You must never twist justice or show partiality.
Matthew 22:16 Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.
“The Greek clause translated as you are impartial or you defer to no one is ou gar blepeis eis prosopon anthropon. It literally reads, ‘you do not look to the face of men.’” (D. A. Carson).
“You do not regard the position of men translates the Semitic idiom: ‘you do not look into the face of men.’ . . . [the] emphasis is upon the impartiality with which Jesus treats people, regardless of their status (‘you are impartial’). [The] GeCL translation connects this clause with the previous one: ‘influenced by people, no matter how important they are.’”
“Some translators will make this a new sentence: ‘You don’t care whether someone is important or not’ or ‘It does not matter to you whether someone is an important person or not’” (UBS).
The phrase “you show no partiality” or “you are not partial to any” is literally “You care for no man” In Greek, to express The idea more clearly, it can be translated. “You do not allow yourself to be influenced by people,” “you are not swayed by men’s opinion of you,” or “You don’t care what people think” (UBS).
Wise advice includes accommodation to the reasonable requests and needs of others. Bad advice is often harsh and results in harmful collateral damage done trying. This is illustrated in the story of Rehoboam, one of Solomon’s sons.
2 Chronicles 10:3-19
3 When Jeroboam and all Israel came, they spoke to Rehoboam, saying,
4 “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”
5 Rehoboam replied, “Come back in three days for my answer.” So the people went away.
6 Then, King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”
7 The older counselors replied, “If you are good to these people and do your best to please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”
8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers.
9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”
10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist!
11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!'”
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered.
13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to them, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors
14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier!
15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of God, for it fulfilled the LORD’s message to Jeroboam, son of Nebat, through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.
16 When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded, “Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse. Back to your homes, O Israel! Look out for your own house, O David!” So all the people of Israel returned home.
17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.
18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the labor force, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death. When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem.
19 And to this day, the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David.
“Alexander Maclaren called this account ‘a miserable story of imbecility and arrogance,’ and he was right. The story reveals that, whatever gifts Rehoboam may have possessed, he didn’t have the gift of relating to people and understanding their needs. David was a king who loved his people and risked his life for their welfare. Solomon was a king who didn’t serve the people but used the people to satisfy his own desires. Rehoboam was a king who ignored the lessons of the past and turned his ears away from the voices of the suffering people. He was unfit to rule” ( Wiersbe).
One terrible decision by Rehoboam, an arrogant, thoughtless King, resulted in the lasting separation between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom of the nation of Israel. The Northern Kingdom included 10 tribes and was called Israel. The Southern kingdom included Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, which came to be called Judah.
Being kind, accommodating, and forgiving is the natural consequence of recognizing that Father has forgiven us.
Ephesians 4:32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
© Dr. H 2022