Saturday, December 20, 2014
What Are They Saying Now?
John 7:12 And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, “He is a good man,” others were saying, “No, he is deceiving the crowd.” 13 Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews.
Jesus’ brothers had encouraged him to come to the Festival but he told them that it wasn’t the right time yet. He wasn’t going to go and do a lot of public works. Later on he simply went to the events, slipping in without people noticing. However, he was able to overhear their conversations about him. People were saying all kinds of things, wondering where he was and contemplating his character. On one hand there were those who felt that he was good while others saw him as being deceptive.
The religious authorities were jealous of him and somehow could not accept his nature as good. Instead they leaned toward the idea that his words were deceptive or seductive. His words were influencing people and they hadn’t give him the authority. They could not see the authority of God in his work because that would mean that they did not have ultimate power and authority over the religious affairs of their community. The ordinary folks who saw Jesus through their innocent eyes could see that he was good while the priests and rulers were corrupted and this corruption created a filter through which they saw him — and ultimately, spoke about him.
In reality his words were seductive because people were responding and lives were being changed. This greatly disturbed the leaders for it eroded their power base. Their concern was not with God or his message of salvation but with keeping their personal positions secure. The best way to tackle this influence was to talk about Jesus and present their corrupted perception of his work.
Society seems bent on presenting a corrupted version of Christianity — one that is viewed through a corrupted filter. It seems that in the United States, Christianity is under attack in ways that I have never experienced. Everything that a Christian does, or doesn’t do, is scrutinized through a particular lens or filter. Just as Jesus walked among the crowd and could hear the people complaining about him, so the Christian finds the world complaining. Now, to be quite honest Christianity hasn’t always gotten everything right and there is some deserved criticism but at the same time, it seems that there is an open season on criticizing Christianity, as if everything bad in this world has come from Christian.
There is a filter that changes the entire perspective. It’s why the religious leaders couldn’t see anything good in Jesus. Their filter said that he was deceiving people — that he was seducing people. Isn’t that similar to what people say about Christians these days as well. My concern is that we are reacting to what the world is saying, instead of continuing to do what is right. Jesus heard the things that they were saying about him, but he never allowed this to influence who he was or to keep him from his mission. The reality was that his message was seductive because it led people to the love of the Father experienced in a restored relationship.
This leads me to concern over the message of Christianity that we are hearing today. Are we being too cautious about what the world might be saying about us that we don’t want to be too seductive? Could we be afraid of encouraging people to come to Christ because some might complain!
This advent season is a time when we should proudly proclaim the arrival of the Messiah who provides for us a way of transformation, and yes, there ought to be something seductive about our message! Will there be those who talk about us? Of course there will be — but it didn’t stop Jesus and it shouldn’t stop us either. What the world is saying now is not much different from what has always been said. The truth about Jesus remains timeless and no matter what others say about us, as followers of Christ it is our responsibility to continue sharing his light to a darkened world.
Lord, may your words through me, be seductive to those who need to know you. Amen.