OPPOSITION THEN—AND NOW
Father, I may not always be faithful, but You always are. In a world where I am afraid to totally trust anyone, I know I can trust You.
Read LUKE 11:14–28
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We need to face suspicion of our motives and criticism of our beliefs with honesty and transparency.
Some people can see nothing good in the church, its beliefs or its social action: “If people join the church, they must have been manipulated in some way”; “Evangelists who draw the crowds or have television programs must be making lots of money.” (We need to acknowledge, of course, that there have been some genuine scandals within church institutions.) Jesus, having healed a man and given him back speech, was then accused of being in league with the devil—but that, as Jesus pointed out, doesn’t make sense. Only by “the finger of God” (20) can demons be driven out (another reference to Moses, perhaps; see Exod. 8:19). Those attacking Jesus had no difficulty in believing in a spirit world peopled by demons, so a dramatic sign from heaven might have convinced them, but that was not Jesus’ way, as we shall see in Monday’s reading.
Today, there is widespread skepticism about the claims of Christianity. Some of it arises from a thoughtful and genuine engagement with the Christian faith, but the rise of social media, coupled with a growing populist and belligerent atheism, has led to some far more outspoken attacks on all aspects of Christian belief and practice—”You must be weak-minded to think like that.” Jesus tells us that those who have thrown out all possibility of the supernatural can leave themselves open to greater evils.
Jesus then met another kind of distraction—those who follow him to hear lovely stories and want to be in with the crowd but don’t listen, don’t understand and would run away from the challenge of following him through difficult days. Those who will be blessed are those who hear God’s word, seek understanding and obey his call to function with love in a skeptical world.
When the Word of God is at work, what is required is not applause but obedience. How are your thoughts on this?
Help me, Lord, to be culturally aware, so that I can respond to popular views of faith with dignity, understanding and love.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.