26 August 2011

Jesus Values Faith Over Peace 2

"I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!  From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

The goal of the Christian is not to please everyone.  The goal of the Christian is to follow Christ.



In fact, Jesus makes it quite clear through his teaching and through those who reacted to his ministry that when we choose to follow him, we won't please everyone.  Even worse, some, even those who were close friends and family, will react violently to us.  They will ridicule, seek to wreck our business and reputation, tell us to shut up, avoid us, stop eating with us, etc...

If our goal is to have all the people hold hands singing, "Give peace a chance", we are following the wrong lord. 

One of the absolute amazing things about Jesus that I have discovered is that he never forced himself on anyone.  He has THE message.  His teachings make it clear that he really is the way, the truth and the life.  Yet, he never begged, pleaded, dragged or forced anyone to believe in Him.  He simply stated who he is, what his Father wants, and what people should do.  But once the person gave their answer, he would simply move on.

An even more amazing thing about Jesus was his courage in the face of growing conflict.  And, the more he taught, the more he healed, the more people who would repent and give themselves to Jesus as Lord of the Kingdom of Heaven, the higher the danger, the more heat from the conflict.  If Jesus was just some nutter spouting things from a cave with just a couple of people listening to him, no one would care.  But, Jesus spoke and acted with an authority they had not experienced before.

For some, Jesus is good news.  For others, Jesus is bad news.  For some, Jesus liberates.  For others, Jesus threatens.

And yet, in the face of such hatred, Jesus never seeks to appease.  He is not skillful in diplomacy.  He doesn't give clever solutions about how the religious leaders could still see God the way they saw Him and believe that He was Messiah as well.  He simply continues to teach in many different ways, "Repent.  For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

Why?  Because Jesus values faith over peace.  The Prince of Peace knows that without faith in Him, there is no peace.  Even worse, the Prince of Peace knows that the insistance on faith in Him will bring more conflict against those who would follow the Prince of Peace.

And yet, in the face of such hatred, Jesus never retaliates.  Jesus never strikes anyone.  Jesus never lost control.  Jesus simply trusts his Father.  He avoids and escapes until it is time for the lamb to be led to the slaughter.  And his Father vindicates His obedience by raising Him from the dead as the firstborn of many sons and daughters.

This is the path Jesus walked.  To follow Jesus is to walk the same path.  The goal of the Christian is not to please everyone.  The goal of the Christian is to follow Christ.

4 comments:

  1. I agree. But do you see how some would not understand as this is not practiced in the general community. If you have people telling you that hellfire awaits, if they quote a bunch of scripture at you just to show how wrong you are, if they put themselves as superior and you as inferior, then Christ's message is not preached.

    This is the problem with written Holy writ. It is just too easy to yell it out at someone than wrestle with it, as you would in a conversation or listening to someone speak. Jesus certainly knew how to write, but it is interesting he chose not to do so, or at least as far as we know. I have no idea how his message would have been heard without the written word, but clearly God decided to take that chance.

    I think your word "path" is crucial here, because it is all a process. It isn't always linear--sometimes we get ahead, go back, go back some more, get ahead...

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  2. Yeah, it is all process. It's growth. It's maturity. There are growing pains. Sometimes tumors.

    Oh, I have experienced my fill of Christians who hammer truth without any consideration over whether they will truly be heard or whether they just want to rant. There's a big difference and it's a legitamate turn-off.

    Paul writing to the church advises the church to speak the truth in love. It's a way that considers the hearer, not just the one who speaks. It's the Christian way. And, if we truly see ourselves in Christ's light and see what he has truly done for us, then nobody should see themselves as superior. Jesus is the one who is superior, full stop.

    But, I would caution people not to confuse results with a failure to communicate effectively and lovingly. Jesus always spoke the truth in love perfectly and was publicly executed for it. The same is true for many, many others.

    Thanks again for the kind and thoughtful comments.

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  3. If you are not making someone uncomfortable at your place of employment or wherever you rub shoulders with the unsaved on a regular basis, chances are you are not filled with the Holy Ghost and you have in fact compromised your testimony..perhaps rendering you ineffective as a witness for Christ.
    Richard Hobart
    blog

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  4. This is so true, Lance. Sometimes I think Christians can get the wrong idea that as Christians, we are supposed to be people-pleasers. But Christ certainly didn't make people comfortable! He upset the culture. If we are going to be imitators of Christ, we need to follow his example -- in love of course.

    - Aimee

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