As we mentioned in part one of this series, it is important for us to remember the sovereign nature of Jesus when witnessing to friends and family that refuse to believe. Without a strong confidence in the sovereign nature of Jesus Christ (which He displayed in Matthew 11:27) we will not be able to respond in the same manner that He did.
So how did Jesus respond to people who refused to believe that He was their Savior (Matthew 10-11)? The first thing He did was turn to Praise the Father. At first, it may seem like this is the opposite of what we should do. Why should we praise God when our friends and family have refused Jesus as their Savior? Observing Jesus’ response in verses 25-26 of Matthew 11 shows us why we should praise the Father.
First of all, we know that God is still the Lord of Heaven and Earth (Matthew 11:25). This reminds us that He is in control of everything around us. He was there in the beginning (Genesis 1:1) and He will be there in the end (Revelation 1:8). It is important that we praise God even when friends and family refuse to believe. It is a confession of our belief in the midst of their unbelief.
Second, we are able to praise God because we know it is He who reveals Himself and His Son to the unbeliever (Matthew 11:25). We can praise God because we are confident that it is not our inability to communicate that has prevented our friends and family from accepting Jesus as their Savior. Romans 1 says that God has made Himself known to all men but that some men have foolishly ignored or even suppressed that knowledge. Even though they know He exists, they refuse to have a relationship with Him. They think this is wise, but Paul concludes that it is really foolishness (Romans 1:18-23). We praise God because we know that He is the one who reveals Jesus, and not ourselves.
Finally, we can praise God even when our friends and family refuse to believe because everything He does is “well-pleasing” within His sight (Matthew 11:26). It is often hard for us to trust God when we learn that 1) He is the one who reveals Jesus and 2) someone we love has not yet accepted Jesus as their Savior. Jesus serves as our model in Matthew 11:26 when He praises the Father for acting in a way that is well-pleasing to Himself. We must be careful not to blame God when someone close to us does not believe in Jesus. Scripture must be read as a whole and we must recognize four things.
- Every person is guilty of sin and does not deserve a relationship with God.
- God is justified in refusing to have a relationship with sinful people.
- Anytime anybody accepts Jesus as their Savior, we have witnessed an act of mercy (in that God held back His wrath when He didn’t have to do so) and grace (in the fact that God offered forgiveness through Jesus when He did not have to do so).
- We are blessed that God works in ways that are pleasing to Him rather than in ways that are pleasing to ourselves.
This sums up verses 25-26 of Matthew chapter 11 and it clearly shows us why we are able to praise the Father even when our friends and family refuse to accept Jesus as their Savior. Have you been angry at God because someone you care about has not accepted Jesus? If so, I challenge you to think about your response. If Jesus could praise God when people rejected His love, how can you do otherwise? Come back shortly for my third post in this series where we’ll see how the sovereign nature of Jesus allows Him to continue to share the gospel with others in the midst of an unbelieving generation.
Other posts in this series
How should I respond when friends reject the Gospel? (part one)