Tug of War

You'd think doing the right thing would be easy. Everyone would encourage. None oppose.

But Jesus’ life shows this isn’t true!

Our Teacher faced violent hostility from infancy to the cross! Herod tried to kill Him. Religious leaders plotted His death. Pilate authorized the final blow.

He was despised and rejected my men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief!

The student will not be above His Teacher in this regard. Here Jesus bluntly warns His students about the kinds of rejection they also must face.

It doesn’t seem fair – this tug of war - as we attempt to do the right thing and others pull in the opposite direction. Isn’t it enough that we sometimes wrestle with our own human nature?

Yet, there it is. He warns that religious leaders may oppose! Hostile governments and even members of our own family may be against us.

Yet with these risks come the Teacher’s comforting promises.

He says don’t be anxious about what to do when you’re opposed. You’re not alone. The Spirit of God is within you!

He reminds us of a reward at the end of life if we don’t give up or give in. He should know. That’s how it worked out for Him.

Finally, the most encouraging words of all! Our Teacher tells us that when we suffer rejection we are following in His own footsteps.

Perhaps in times of rejection it is enough to know – even in this – we are like the Teacher.

1 comment:

  1. Many expect the world to persecute. The world doesn’t understand, they can’t. Jesus said of the Spirit of truth “The world cannot accept him, because neither sees him nor knows him.” (John 14:17)

    Jesus also said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)

    Yet many of the persecutions we face come from within the church. (Remember, one of Jesus’ own disciples betrayed Him.)

    As well, persecution can come from one’s own family (remember, this also happened to Jesus – Mt 12:46-50)

    These are what seem to hurt and discourage the most, when you are trying to stand up for Jesus and one’s family – either spiritual brothers and sisters or physical family – persecute and falsely accuse.

    While this can be discouraging, it is times like these we are to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2 It is a growing process “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:3 and leads to maturity “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 and also leads to reward “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

    These times are difficult. James 1 almost sounds like a cliché answer. Family is important. Christian families should know better. These times are trying – remember that Jesus faced the same. One way to persevere is to remember that even in these times of trials, we are becoming like the Teacher. It’s not often a sought after attribute to becoming like Christ through trials – but Paul says “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection form the dead.”

    I’m trying to search for words of comfort for these incredibly tough times… draw near to Him, lean on His understanding, and the promise that He will never leave you.