Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Public Opinion

A photographer is questioned on the news for capturing a photo of a man about to bit hit by a train.  None of us know him well enough to guess his motives; however, he says that he was merely using the flash on his camera to alert the driver of the train.  It doesn't matter if the general public knows him or not, he will be judged by many people.  Some will decide that selling a good photo was more important than saving a life while others will believe his story that he was snapping photos while he was rushing to arrive at the scene.  No matter what he says, there will be disagreement among a lot of people who never met him about what his true motives were.  We often make rash decisions about people without all the facts.  We are probably better off in such cases to let it go and say that we cannot know the motives and trust that it is between the person and God.  Jesus faced this scrutiny every day of His ministry on earth and He pointed out the clash of opinions that surrounded Him.  Please read Matthew 11:1-19.

These verses open up with the reminder that Jesus just sent His disciples out with His authority to heal people from all disease and to cast out demons.  We are told that John the Baptist was in prison and sent his disciples to question Jesus about His identity.  There are so many things that could be written about in these verses, but I want to point out more of what Jesus had to say about John.  Jesus gave a message to send back to John that would confirm He was the Messiah, but He also addressed the crowd about John.

Jesus knew that there were a lot of opinions going around about Himself and John the Baptist.  Jesus explained to the crowd that John was the prophet Elijah, fulfilling prophecy.  Everyone knew that the coming of Elijah meant that the Messiah would be coming.  Jesus didn't tell John's disciples that He was the Messiah; instead, He used more prophecy to confirm His identity.  Jesus knew that John would understand what was being said.  In the same way, Jesus didn't tell the crowd that He was the Messiah; He used John's true identity to speak to the crowd.  They knew the prophecy and would have understood that if John was Elijah then Jesus was the Messiah.

This is an interesting thing to think about.  Don't you think it would have been easier to just say to everyone, "I am the Messiah"?  But, perhaps Jesus knew that no matter what He said about Himself, people would have their own opinions even though they didn't know Him.  Jesus chose to speak of the fulfillment of prophecy and allowed them to think through all that they knew about the prophecy of the Messiah to decide whether or not they would believe Him.  Jesus pointed out that no matter what He or John did, there would be those who would judge their actions.  Jesus told them that, "wisdom is shown to be right by its results," (Matthew 11:19, NLT).  So, what do you see in the results?  Do you see a crazy man who died for nothing, or do you see a Creator who desperately wanted to save us?  I choose to believe that our Creator came to sacrifice Himself in order to give us life with Him.

What do you believe?

This post is linked with Word Filled Wednesday.

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