June 19, 2018

There Was A Division

To the surprise of many, Jesus was a very controversial person; and still is. As He labored among the Jews, they debated each other about Him. In John 8:43 it says, “So there was a division among the people because of Him.”

Jesus did not recoil at this division. He did not change His message to make it more appealing and less-offensive in an attempt to please everyone. Rather, He stayed the course and became increasingly controversial. Eventually, as you know, it reached the point where most turned against Him and cried out for His blood (Mk. 15:11-13).

The disciple should expect no better than his Master (Jn. 15:18-21). A true follower of Christ will be controversial. Paul was said to be “a plague, a creator of dissension” (Acts 24:5). He stirred up trouble wherever he went. He was thrown in jail at Philippi (Acts 16). He caused a riot at Ephesus (Acts 19). He was arrested in Jerusalem after the crowd nearly tore him apart (Acts 21:26-36).

If we teach the truth and act in accordance with the gospel, should we expect anything different? How controversial are you? It is not that Jesus, Paul, and the others sought to anger people. They did not act arrogantly. However, they did anger people to an extreme degree. This is the nature of truth as it clashes with the world. If we follow Jesus we will clash with the world too.

Also worthy of note is the fact that the enemies of Paul and Jesus were religious men. Paul had trouble with pagans (Ephesus), but his greatest persecutors were the Jews (Acts 14, 17). Jesus’ enemies were the religious leaders of Judaism. It should not shock us that in our time the most rabid opponents of the truth are religious leaders; ones that are popular and hold great influence over the masses just like the scribes and Pharisees did.

No matter what, all those who love the Lord must stand with Him. We cannot be cowards and get into heaven (Rev. 21:8). Rather, we need to “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” regardless of the controversy or divisions that will result (1 Cor. 16:13).