Jesus never was afraid of conflict … It seemed to follow Him!

I grew up in a home and in a church where, generally speaking, conflict was kept at bay.  “Let it go,” was one of the phrases I often heard.  “Speak the truth in love” was not something I heard very often.  Because if you speak the truth someone might not like you and being liked by everyone was a high value.  

 

But as I’ve read through the Gospels again in recent months, I am struck again at how much Jesus was engaged in conflict.  Being liked definitely does not appear to be his highest value.  Not even close.  

 

In fact, conflict seemed to follow the man wherever he went.  Sometimes he started it.  Consider my reading from this morning… 

 

Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath … Luke 13:10-17

10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.

1.  Jesus called to the front the woman crippled by a spirit for 18 years, and he healed her.  Yep, right in front of everyone.  Jesus pushed the issue.

2.  The indignant synagogue leader complained to the people about how unfair and inappropriate this was on the Sabbath.  Yep, apparently right in front of Jesus.  The synagogue leader doesn’t seem to mind healings on the other days.  Pretty funny.

3.  Jesus, feeling the heat, left the synagogue.  Of course he didn’t!  In fact, Jesus answered the leader, calling him and others hypocrites.  Wow!

4.  Yes, Jesus — the Lord of the Sabbath — does break the Sabbath rules.  But for crying out loud, his rule breaking is for the Kingdom of God to break in, and for this poor daughter of Abraham to be healed.   How great is that?  And from the Lord of the Sabbath, no less.

5.  Jesus’ opponents were humiliated, but the people who saw all this were delighted.  Sometimes the truth hurts.  Well, so be it.

6.  You can say many things about Jesus but being afraid of conflict and wanting to be liked at all cost are not among them. 

7. One can only imagine the conversations among the people as they headed to their homes after the service.

8.  Action step:  Speak the truth in love.  The truth still sets us free!  If you are like me, and like to be liked, well, you’re not off the hook.  Speak up.  Be bold.  God will give you strength!

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