But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that [Jesus] drives out demons.”
Matthew 9:34 (NIV)
One of the things I have noticed over recent years is the divergent poles of political thought on both sides of the political spectrum. One side thinks that everything they believe is “all good” and whatever the opposition believes is “all bad.” Those in the middle who desire to seek compromise are pulled apart by the extremes on both sides. No matter what good any one tries to do or say, they are immediately attacked, slandered, criticized and their thoughts summarily dismissed.
I found it interesting that amidst Jesus’ unprecedented display of divine power and love He experiences criticism and negativity on all sides.
- Jesus extends forgiveness to a paralytic, then heals the man … and the religious leaders dismiss Him a blasphemer.
- Jesus shows love in reaching out to Matthew, the tax collector, and his friends … and He is condemned by the religious leaders for being with sinners, and criticized by the disciples of John the Baptist for partying and not fasting.
- Jesus arrives to raise the synagogue leader’s daughter from the dead … and He is laughed at by the mourners gathered there.
- Jesus quietly heals two blind men, restoring their sight. He asks only that they keep quiet about it … and they do the opposite of what Jesus asked.
- Jesus casts out a demon who had made a man mute … and the good religious people said that Jesus must be the Prince of Demons.
Along life’s road I have come to understand that you can do nothing worthwhile in this world without being criticized and condemned by somebody. Opposition is inevitable in this world, even to the things of God’s Spirit. Today I witness Jesus, who is healing, forgiving, loving, raising the dead and releasing people from spiritual bondage. At every turn He is being criticized, dismissed, ignored, laughed at, and condemned.
Why should I think that it would be any different for me?
This morning I’m reminded that no matter where Jesus leads and no matter what I am called to do, I will encounter some measure of doubt, criticism, hatred and opposition. My job is to press on, keep my eyes focused on Jesus, and to love even those who criticize me for it.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein