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Facing the Critics

Messages

Mar 1–He Heals Through the Devil’s Power!!! (Luke 11:14-36)—Really? That was their answer? It was easier to believe he healed through the devil’s power than through God’s power? It’s funny to poke holes at the obstinacy of some in Jesus’s day, but we probably should be careful in doing so. For these critics, they had SEEN Jesus do miraculous things; things that demanded an explanation. But they were so determined NOT to believe he was the Lord’s Messiah that they made up other possible explanations. The practice is still visible today, in criticisms that may even complement Jesus, but stop short of affirming the very claim that he made. How do you explain the peculiar story of a small town carpenter who created a world-wide movement of faith?

Feb 23–He Accepts the Outcasts!!! Luke 15:1-10 – Jesus really did spend time with people from every facet of society in Israel at that time. We see him with Pharisees, Roman centurions, tax collectors, Samaritans, lepers, fishermen, and on and on and on. Jesus crossed all the sociological barriers. And some people thought this was a good thing. And some people thought this was a bad thing. Because in the minds of many, some barriers just shouldn’t be crossed. The criticisms in this regard came sharpest from the religiously pious as a result of his spending time with the obviously unclean.

Feb 16–He Refuses to Condemn! (Luke 9:51-56, John 8:1-11)—The religious leaders of the day fancied themselves as the keepers of holiness. The chief problem was that they were totally arbitrary in doing so! They held others accountable to their own views of holiness, but disregarded ways in which they themselves were prejudiced, haughty, and selfish. So when Jesus refused to condemn people that ran afoul of the common religious expectations, he made himself the object of their distaste and accusations. The question was never one of holiness, but rather a recognition that everyone is a sinner and everyone is in need of grace and mercy. And this dynamic still challenges people trying to evaluate Jesus and his followers today. 

Feb 9–And the Reviews Are In! (John 7:1-52)—Jerusalem was the heart of religious power and tradition for the Jews, which made it an obvious place to be the heart of the opposition against Jesus and all of his claims. Jesus was very aware of the threat, and only ventured into the city at certain times and for brief periods. But as the time drew nearer for the completion of his time on Earth, those visits became bolder. Here in John 7 we see the beginning of the end. The opinions of the people swing widely as some revere him while others seek to kill him.