Some Turn To Him, Some Turn Against Him
Chan Gin Kai
Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words. (Luke 19:47-48)
Jesus taught at the temple every day in front of a huge crowd. But there were two very distinct groups who heard him, and they responded in totally different ways… One group hung to his words; the other wanted him hung on a cross.
They had all heard the same Scriptures, the same parables, and the same exhortations, but they had very different responses. And it wasn’t just here, in Jerusalem. It was the same everywhere Jesus preached. Some turned to him, and some turned against him.
The group that opposed Jesus had heard him preach at other towns and cities too. They had seen his miracles. They had seen him transform the lives of “tax collectors and sinners”, the very people they had trouble calling to repentance. But instead of falling at his feet and calling him their Savior, they wanted him silenced.
How can one see Jesus’ miracles, hear his words, see lives transformed, and yet not be moved?
They were “chief priests, teachers of the law, and leaders among the people”. They were well versed with the Scriptures, commentaries of the rabbis, and the many traditions. In fact, they taught all of these diligently. But their knowledge and position had puffed them up. They drew confidence from their deeds and the respect people had for them. And pride hardened their hearts.
Some of us love to pursue knowledge. We read commentaries and the works of scholars and experts. We even go beyond the Bible to learn from secular wisdom so we can enhance our skills to serve God and His people better. All of these are well and good. In fact, I enjoy studying, researching and learning too. But so did the enemies of Jesus.
None of us are immune to pride, and those among us who lead are at even greater risk. It is so easy for us to allow our knowledge, our “good deeds” and the respect people have for us get into our heads.
Knowledge is good, but if it puffs us up, and stops us from drawing closer to Jesus, then it is useless. If we become more interested in getting people to follow our teachings than drawing close to God, then we have failed as leaders. We may think that the diligent teaching of our knowledge will help people obey God better, but so did the enemies of Jesus. And we know how they failed with their traditions and man-made teachings in bringing people closer to God.
We need to hear the words of Jesus, and we need to respond to him the right way.
We can all hear the same sermon and read the same Bible but have very different responses. No lesson, no matter how powerful, can impact us unless we choose to open our hearts to Jesus. Miracles can happen around us, God can bless us or press us, friends can pray for us, but the response is ours to make.
Jesus’ words call out to me on a daily basis. Do I choose to silence him? Or do I let his words transform me?
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.