1 Corinthians 15:3–4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
In the name of tolerance
We live in a world which claims “tolerance for all” unless you preach the Gospel, how that Christ died for the ungodly; how the Lord Jesus loved us so much He sacrificed Himself on the cross so we can have eternal life when we place our trust in Him. The Gospel is confrontational against sin but it’s a message of love.
How can a loving message such as that cause others to say Christians are preaching “hate”? Because we love you and want to warn you to flee from the wrath to come, is that hate? Are you being “tolerant” towards Christians when we speak God’s word or “intolerant”? There seems to be a double standard unless we agree with sin, homosexuality, fornication, lying, stealing etc. Then you won’t “tolerate” us.
As Christians we’re not “tolerant” when it comes to sin, we never said we were. We love all people but just because we love you doesn’t mean we agree to your sin. On the other hand secularist claim “tolerance” but they won’t tolerate the Gospel.
In the name of tolerance
Things are not so much different from 2000 years ago when Jesus Christ stood before the people of Jerusalem. As the Lord Jesus preached and taught in the temple He was approached by the religious Pharisees and Sadducees who wanted to maintain control over the people and therefore sought a reason to have Him killed. These two parties collectively made up the Sanhedrin and they were a ruling body of seventy-one members with the High Priest as the chief officer.
Then we have the Herodians who wanted to restore someone from the family of Herod to the throne in Judea as well as other areas ruled by Herod the Great. The Herodians were the political leaders of those days.
And we also had those who were devoted to studying the scriptures called scribes, the scribes were the ones who drew up legal documents. They also copied the Old Testament Scripture and determined how they would apply to every day living.
The Lord Jesus dealt with each one of these groups as they opposed Him as He preached to the people in the Synagogue or towns. As they would look to entrap Him in anything concerning the scriptures. The religious parties were those who were self-righteous they considered themselves to be “good persons”. Jesus Christ was telling them they’re not good because they have all sinned and are trying to keep others from receiving forgiveness for their sins from God.
There was a division among the people because of him
In the Gospel of John, there are 3 different times in which the word “division” was used in reference to their reaction to Christ. The religious authorities felt threatened, but not only them the people (Jews) also were at odds with Jesus Christ and among themselves.
John 7:43 So there was a division among the people because of him.
John 9:16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
John 10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
There’s another account in the Gospel of Matthew when the Pharisees had sent people to falsely testify again Jesus always looking to entrap Him. The Lord Jesus was either hated or loved, there weren’t any individuals who were indifferent towards Him. You will always find two types of people believers or unbelievers. The following scripture from chapter 27 in Matthew shows the hatred towards the Son of God. But not only that it also shows someone who was trying to “ride the fence” sort of speak.
Pontius Pilate was the prefect of Judea from A.D. 26 to A.D. 36. Although Pilate’s residence was in Caesarea he was in Jerusalem for the time of the Passover. Pilate was a man under the rule of Augustus Caesar. The Jews being under Roman rule were afraid of losing their way of life to the Romans and feared that they would be destroyed. They brought Jesus to Pilate with the accusation of causing an uproar among the people and against Caesar.
When Pontius Pilate asked “Shall I crucify your King?” in reference to Jesus Christ, the Jews answered, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). Reading the following text we see the entire scene played out as Pontius Pilate tries to release Jesus and excuse himself from taking part in delivering up the Son of God to be crucified.
Matthew 27:1–24 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me. And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
All of the attempts of Pilate didn’t work. Jesus made no defence before Pilate Pilate marvelled that Jesus did not attempt to defend Himself. Pilate admitted Jesus was innocent and told the crowd that Jesus was innocent. Pilate attempted to release Jesus. Pilate denied responsibility in the Lord Jesus’s death and tried to put the responsibility on the Jews. Pilate tried to wash his hands of the matter and delivered Him up to be crucified. Pilate had the chance to set Him free but he was afraid of Caesar and wanted to please the people.
Is the world any different today?
Today’s Christians face the same challenges just with different names attached. Instead of the self-righteous religous Pharisees and Sadducees, we now have world religions like Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and cults (Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons).
Instead of the political Herodians, we have politicians who create ungodly rules such as “free speech zones”, “noise level laws” and other mandates which tries to prevent the Gospel from going forth. Instead of the scribes, we have citizens who try to prevent the good news from being preached as they bring their secular views or mock and scoff. Nothing really has changed, either you’re for Christ or against Him. Either your for God or an enemy of God.
As an encouragement continue to preach the word no matter what opposition you come up against. God is worth it all! I’ll end this with 2 appropriate scriptures from Moses and Joshua.
Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Christ divides, which side are you on?