Wherever he went, Jesus stirred up controversy.
When the people of the first century witnessed the miracles Jesus did—even on the Sabbath—and the authoritative claims he made, they took sides. Some “were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, ‘When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?’” (John 7:30-31, NASB)
Such division! It’s the same today. Jesus, who said he spoke and did only what the Father had commanded, either came from God, in which case he was the Christ (the Messiah), or didn’t come from God, in which case he was a false prophet and unworthy of our trust. There’s no other option.
According to his own statements and those of his disciples, Jesus humbled himself to the Father’s will all the way to the cross. Years later, Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:6-8, KJV, emphasis mine)
If we’re following Jesus, our lives will undoubtedly elicit similar controversy and intolerance. No one likes it! Fortunately, God promises to provide strength to get through it and more, every single day. “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”* (Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV)
If you’re reading along through the Bible, you’re over 83% of the way. Congratulations!
*Great is Thy Faithfulness, 1923, by Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) and William Runyan, sung here by the Cathedral Quartet, 1983.
From October readings for Days 24 and 25
Lamentations 3 and 4-5
Song of Solomon 8:1-7 and 8:8-14
John 7:14-24 and 7:25-36
I Peter 5:1-7 and 5:8-14