The opposition to Jesus’ ministry from the religious community was a challenge that Jesus had to face daily. The Jewish religious hierarchy was diametrically opposed to the teachings of a Galilean man that did not adhere to their interpretation of the Jewish “constitution” (Torah). (John 7:32) They looked at Jesus as an outsider, a person who never held a religious position. They looked at Him as a person who had no understanding of the workings of Jerusalem. The more that He taught, the more determined the “swamp” was to stop Him. At first, the Pharisees sought to engage Him in Scriptural interpretation. They wanted to get Him to contradict the written Word. After countless attempts to disparage His words, they tried new tactics, such as false charges and intimidation of His followers. The problem was the more they attempted to remove Him from the religious arena, the more successful His ministry became. The Pharisees tried to reassure themselves that He was drawing most of His followers from the poor, uneducated, and “deplorables,” and that the status quo religionist would stay in line with the tradition of the Elders. Unable to dismiss the miracles that Jesus did, they tried to align those miracles with satanic influence. (Matthew 9:34)
Even though Jesus was the target of personal attacks, He never lost sight of His calling. He stayed focused on His message of Redemption and the Grace of God. When He was confronted face to face with His opposition, He stood His ground addressing them as false prophets, wolves, hypocrites, graves, blind, workers of iniquity, white-walled sepulchers, and children of the devil. Jesus used those terms to their faces, not behind their backs. He warned His disciples to “beware of the leaven” of the Pharisees which would cause them to get their eyes off the things that really mattered.
Jesus taught forgiveness and to turn their cheek, but it was not intended for those who sought to destroy the Kingdom of God unless there was repentance involved. When someone challenges the Truth of the Gospel, the Believer has an obligation and a duty to defend the Word. I have witnessed over the past few months how so many Believers “preach to the choir” when it comes to exposing those who oppose our Christian values. Social media is alive with rhetoric that reinforces the actions of the opposition. This is simply treading water with no objective of resolve. Instead of displaying the dirt of those who oppose the Word, let us spend our social messaging around Truth. I never thought I would see the day when Christians are talking more about the misguided than they are about the One who guides them daily.
If Jesus was physically with us today, how would He handle the challenges to our country? I believe He would bypass the bricks and mortar and walk up and down this country spreading the Good News. He would not go looking for the opposition, for He would have more important things to do. He would not continually relay the “fake news.” Where ever He would go, His light would dispel darkness. If He would face resistance, He would boldly share the Word without compromise. I believe the last thing He would do would be to get on the internet and share how bad and awful the opposition is. From His days on this earth and to His Heavenly position, His ministry was and is around bringing people into the Kingdom, as well as securing those who are already Believers. When Believers center on the negatives, it will be difficult to stay positive. Let us stay focused on the things that really matter.