Conflict and Compliment
Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, I praise You. I look forward to learning from Your Word.
Read Luke 11:14-28
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey” (John Henry Sammis, 1846-1919). That’s hearing the word and obeying it.
This passage shows how well Jesus handled conflict. The cruel innuendo that Jesus is satanic is quickly exposed for the lie that it is. Let us focus today on the closing two verses, verses we might easily overlook. They provide us with positive insights about how we truly belong to Jesus. They arise in the deft way he handles a compliment.
When the woman in the crowd shouted out her blessing, it was a way of adorning Jesus, rather than a direct compliment to Mary. The logic is that Mary must be blessed because her son, whom she has produced, is so amazing. This son, Jesus, will bring his mother (presumably Joseph was already dead) great respect in her community because he is clearly such an amazing prophet and miracle-worker. So, by implication, Jesus is wonderful. It was a gigantic compliment the woman intended for Jesus, but her flattery did not get her very far. Jesus did not rebuke the woman; it was, after all, a very brave thing to voice such praise in the context of the damning criticisms we have just encountered. Yet, Jesus could not simply accept it, for to do so would leave people misunderstanding the nature of discipleship.
What of ourselves? True discipleship is not a matter of biological and social family, nor even of belonging to the right nation! Far too often we have forgotten this in the history of our churches when, for example, a long-standing benefactor of the church seeks to exercise control over the spiritual life of the fellowship. True disciples are those “who hear the word of God and obey it.” Indeed it was because Mary did this that she is worthy to be called “blessed” (Luke 1:38).
Recall the last few weeks’ notes (or sermons); what challenged you? Then note down how you “obeyed” these challenges–or not!
Lord, I really need to focus on listening to You. Help me to filter out the many other competing voices and clearly hear You speak to me.
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