“He is the greatest player to ever wear the uniform!…He is a disgrace to the game!” She is the best author of all time!…She should never have picked up a pen!” Certain people elicit strong contrasting opinions from others. No one is neutral toward them. Either you are enthusiastically “for” them or adamantly “against” them. That is especially true for Jesus. Tax collectors and outcast “sinners” hung on His every word, while the religious elite plotted His death. Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me” (Lk. 11:23). No one can be neutral toward Him.
Where does that leave us? We were baptized into Jesus’ name. When we gather in His house we confess that He is our Lord and Savior. But what about other times? It’s harder then, isn’t it? The world around us is certainly not “for” Jesus, except to offer vague praise to Him as a loving example. But He came to be much more than that. He came as the God-Man, the stand-in for all humankind, people dead in sin and headed for hell. He came to call all to repentance and faith in Him as the only Savior. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). When you share that message with others you soon find out firsthand that you’re in a small minority. Have you ever been taken aback by the reaction you’ve received? You may be called narrow-minded, out of touch, unloving, or something worse.
Don’t let that discourage you. The majority is not always right. The hatred and accusations of Jesus’ enemies didn’t change His love for them. Their lies didn’t alter the truth of His promises. Their rejection of His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross didn’t invalidate God’s reconciliation with the world through Jesus’ blood.
We shouldn’t be surprised at how hostile others are toward Jesus and those who confess Him. His name will always create strong reactions. At the same time, let’s not be afraid to speak up for the faith implanted in us by the Holy Spirit. St. Paul writes in our sermon text for tomorrow: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). The more we hear and live in the Word, the more we will echo Peter and John: “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
Is there someone to whom you could speak about Jesus and invite them to join us in hearing the message of Christ crucified?
Yours in Him,
Our services tomorrow are at the usual 8:00 and 10:45 a.m.
Choir rehearses at 9:10 and Sunday school begins at 9:30 a.m.
Bible class is at 9:45 a.m. Thought-starter: How do you respond to someone who thinks the message of Christ crucified is foolish?