- Never One to back down from a GOOD Confrontation –
When many Christians think of Jesus as the “tender Jesus: meek and mild”, they are misrepresenting the Savior. Jesus was Humble and submitted to the will of the Father but He was not mild and His submission to the will of the Father often brought Him into direct conflict with others. Had He submitted to others’ opinions, He would have been out of line with the will of the Father.
Over and over again in the Gospels this scene plays out: a blind, lame, or sick person comes across Jesus’ path- but it is the Sabbath! “It’s the Sabbath, Jesus, are you going to heal him – huh?! You know you not supposed to, so are you goin’ do it- huh?!” It says that they would often gather round the sick person just waiting for Jesus seeing if He would heal the person so that then they could confirm to themselves how ungodly Jesus was to be a Sabbath- breaker. (Examples: Matthew 12, Luke 6, John 5, etc.)
Jesus could have saved Himself a lot of grief if He just did not heal these people on the Sabbath. He could have avoided further alienating the “good people” of His day. He could have slipped His card to the withered-hand man, “Hey, if you drop by Peter’s house on Monday, I can take care of that hand for you. No sense just upsetting a lot of these well-meaning Sabbath police.” He could have led the blind man out of the eye of the public and healed him in private. But Jesus never chose this route. In fact He often added a comment that just further infuriated them. “You all pull your donkey out of the ditch on the Sabbath (as allowed by the Law), so why can I not “pull” these out of their ditch?” “My Father works on the Sabbath and so do I.”- ever think about that?? God still caused them to draw a breath on the Sabbath; He kept the sun and moon in place on the Sabbath. Then Jesus really tipped them over the edge when He said “I am the Lord of the Sabbath!” (Matthew 12, Mark 9, Luke 6).
One guy just couldn’t take it any more: He was NOT going to have any of this Jesus healing on the Sabbath while he was around and especially not on his watch in the synagogue!! Notice what he did in Luke 13:14 – “ But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, ‘There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.’” Do you get what he just did? In our day it might sound something like this: “All right folks, this healing time is Over. Go home. If you want to get healed, you have Sunday – Friday. Sabbath healings are finished. Jesus is doing the wrong thing and we are shutting this thing down.”
Is this the Jesus you would have expected? If Jesus had allowed their opinions or attitudes to dictate His conduct, there would have been a lot of people that would not have been healed. Worse: He would not have been in compliance with His Father’s will. Jesus did go looking for confrontation but nor was He one to avoid it.
We live in a time where more confrontation will become necessary. Some Christians believe that any form of conflict is ungodly. “Go along to get along” has become the mantra of a growing number of Christian circles. Jesus did not go looking for confrontation- it came looking for Him. We should not be those who go looking for confrontation for the sheer joy of a good fight; BUT we must not be those who back down from confrontation that finds us because we, just like Jesus, are insistent on the will of the Father. Compliance is compromise.
Pastor Stephen Willoughby
Pastor Steve grew up in Columbia,South America, where his parents served as missionaries for 25 years. After graduating from Capital Bible Seminary, he was invited to serve as Assistant Pastor at FBCP. He has served in that capacity for twenty years before taking on the position of Senior Pastor.