Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Yesterday we mentioned that there were people that flustered Jesus. In Luke chapter 20, we get a big dose of people hating on Jesus. How bad was it? How did he handle it?
Don’t you find it strange that a man who never sinned against anyone ticked so many people off? He never did anything wrong to anybody, but so many people disliked him, especially religious people who believed in the same God we worship today. Moreover, they didn’t just ignore him; rather, they spent a lot of energy trying to take him down. In Luke 20 alone, the religious folks confronted Jesus about his authority, tried to lay hands on him (and that wasn’t to pray over him), and sent spies who pretended to be righteous in order to catch him in a statement so they could hand him over to the authority of the governor. They really didn’t like Jesus at all and wanted him silenced.
Put yourself in Jesus’ sandals for a moment. How would you feel if people were constantly attacking you even though you had never done anything bad to them? I’m a fairly patient person, but I think at some point if someone continually attacked me when I had done them no wrong, I would lose my cool and flip out at them. If someone continually tried to turn others against me, tried to physically harm me, and tried to get me arrested, my anger would most likely boil over eventually.
How did Jesus react? He used the “3 C” approach – Calm, Cool, and Collected. He didn’t raise his voice. He didn’t call them names (like the Pharifesces). He didn’t ignore them or run the other direction. He didn’t get physical with them. On the other hand, he did treat them with respect. He did take the time to speak with them. He was completely civil with them, but he also didn’t hold back the truth. He explained to them that what they were doing was wrong and that they would pay for it.
I must admit that it is entertaining to me to see how Jesus masterfully with his words put them in their place time and time again. They knew he had gotten the best of them, and they backed off so they could regroup and try again. I’m sure many of the scribes and priests became even angrier in defeat, but we do get a small glimpse of Jesus’ approach changing some minds about him. Luke 20:39-40 says, “Some of the scribes answered and said, ‘Teacher, you have spoken well.’ For they did not have courage to question him any longer about anything.”
Today, anger rules the day. When people don’t agree, they tend to blow up at each other, call each other names, ignore each other, and just really dislike each other. They want so bad to change the minds of the people on the other side of the issue, but their strong words and actions actually entrench the other side further into their beliefs. If you want to have any chance at persuading someone, don’t attack them; try to stay calm, cool, and collected the same way Jesus dealt with his adversaries. You don’t need to like the things they say and do, but you do need to love them as your neighbor.
Time to ponder:
Is there a person or group of people that you don’t like because of the viewpoints they hold? If so, their viewpoints may be completely wrong or even evil, but it is time to forgive them and not hold those wrong beliefs against them personally. You may also need to apologize to them for your words or actions.
There is a time to be angry at people. The Bible even records Jesus getting very angry and acting out…once. He took a whip into the temple and flipped over tables…once. People constantly persecuted him, and he got angry…once. Anger is not the best way to act…except maybe once. How quickly do you get angry with others? Try to separate the issue from the person. You don’t have to agree with them, but you do need to control your temper and love them. Is there anyone you need to apologize to that has been on the wrong side of your wrath?