Scripture Reading: Luke 7:18-35
Have you ever had a conversation you couldn’t “win” no matter how much truth you tried to present? Have you had doubters and naysayers question your character for trying to follow God’s call on your life? Have you been mocked for the very thing you thought was your gift? Have you ever felt that you didn’t fit in with a certain religious crowd?
Everyone needs genuine challenges from friends, family, Scripture and the Church, but have you ever faced barriers when you knew (as best you could determine) that you were in God’s will? There are some people who will never be pleased, no matter what you do. When faced with such opposition it is helpful to remember that John the Baptist and Jesus experienced the wrath of a critical crowd as well.
John was a compelling prophet who needed nothing more than locust, wild honey, and the power of God to call crowds to repentance and to pave the way for Christ’s coming. Jesus basically said he was the best guy ever. But that wasn’t enough to please the Pharisees and lawyers who were the religious leaders of that day. John’s wilderness life was so extremely disciplined they said he was demon possessed.
Jesus, on the other hand (the very Messiah John was pointing to), lived His life among the people: healing the sick, eating with outcasts, and even making the best wine at a wedding. Surely the leaders would love Him. Not so much. They called him a gluttonous drunk.
The Son of God and His forerunner were hated by the same men for opposite reasons. At least on the surface. John and Jesus, though they had different methods, really had the same message. As they heralded God’s Kingdom they represented a threat to the existing power structures. The leaders would have hated any delivery because they hated the Deliverer. As Matthew Henry says in his classic commentary on this passage, “Ill-will never speaks well.”
So continue to serve God, lift up the name of Jesus, and take solace in the fact that Christ Himself had deadly detractors. In every way you can (short of sin) be the person God has called you to be. Jesus has a place for you in His Kingdom. Even the confines of Christendom are big enough for you. In fact only the confines of Christendom are big enough for all of us.
Be ready to learn from your elders, parents, friends or any godly person of goodwill but don’t expect to please everyone. After all as Dr. Steven J. Lawson famously said, “If you please God, it does not matter whom you displease. And if you displease Him, it does not matter whom you please.”
- Have you tried to please people by being someone you aren’t?
- Have you been guilty of expecting every Christian to look & act just like you?
- Will you ask God to show you how He wants you to serve Him and celebrate how He’s using others too?
*Devotional contributed by Alan Duncan