Have you ever been to a public event that wasn’t professionally put together. By that I mean a school meeting, a community meeting or even a church meeting where the sound system just wasn’t doing what it was invented for. I remember some school Parent Teacher Association meetings when some parents would speak from behind rows of chairs in an auditorium and it was impossible to hear them.
Some person would angrily shout out, “Speak up! No one can hear you.” That wasn’t necessarily true, but for most, those farther away they couldn’t help but shake their heads in agreement. Wouldn’t it make sense that if you are in an auditorium you should raise your voice, loud enough, so that everyone could hear you. Sense is not always obvious. And you that person’s defense, they weren’t trained to project their voice and the organizers should have asked her to come to a mic or bring one to her.
I have been on a journey of sorts reading through the gospels. I have been reading and I am finished with Matthew, Mark and nearly finished with Luke, John is left. I have been noticing some things that I didn’t notice before (the Bible has a tendency to do that). More so now because the four Gospels tend to repeat the same events so reading it one after the other, I noticed the repetition more.
I thought I would share some of my observations.
As soon as the voice of God declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17), Jesus began to confront the religious leaders of his time. In His first encounter with the religious leaders they pushed Him to the edge of a cliff hoping to throw him over (Luke 4:29).
As I thought about this today and reading more of Luke I realized that Jesus was in hostile opposition to what He saw going on in the “chosen” religion and he never stopped to confront anyone who supported the politics of that religious institution.
This brought a question to mind: Am I too much at peace with the “world”?
The world I am speaking of is the political structures that impact the spiritual development or destruction of the people in this world. I know that Jesus never complained or had much to say against the Roman Empire –“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:17 NIV) — but I think that was because the Roman’s belief systems were easily seen to be in contradiction to God’s Word. It was the co-mingling of the Truth and Lie, then making a new Truth to serve the institution instead of God, that Jesus was vocally against.
The religious leaders of Jesus time were the political structure. There was no separation of Church and State. The Church was inter-twined with the Jewish government system. Though the Jews had a form of self government, the Roman Empire did not allow them to execute a person (John 18:31). Though it seems, only officially, murder was always on their minds when it came to Jesus.
Within that view (speaking out against the religious/political institution or ideas that affect the spiritual condition of a person) I realized that I haven’t in a long time. There is so much to talk about, whether for or against, yet my limit has only been what people would bring up.
Even with the idea of Marriage and Homosexual Marriage I have struggled with a real argument against it from a reasoning stand point (when the reasoning is do what makes you feel good, or feels right). It took me quite a bit of prayer and meditation and God’s Word for me to come to a conclusion. The religious people of Jesus’ time also had problems with defining marriage through their desires instead of through what God has said or desires.
2 Corinthians 4:3 says, “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing.” (NLT)
This concept was in Christ’s heart when He confronted the social-religious-political structure of His time. He spoke to the people even though He knew they would not comprehend or accept what He was saying.
Two reasons (of possibly many):
First, speaking out against the religious leaders, the people who followed them heard the Truth. The religious leaders provided the audience for those who might want to be freed from harmful beliefs. (In Paul’s day he said the same — Acts 28:23-28 and Romans 10:17).
Second, for posterity, those who go ahead of us after we are dead and gone will have something to remember. That is why the church has Martin Luther, Calvin, and other voices that had to be heard. Though many of their protests were not dealt with immediately and change took time and more years than necessary, what would have happened had they not spoke up and stood against the harmful ideas and practices that invaded their institutions.
The answer is simple, Speak Up! If people don’t hear your voice then they won’t hear the Good News that they need to hear. Speaking up is never forcing an idea down someone’s throat, only a careful time of conversation that may help someone become free. And with God in the center of it, even the most hard and hurt heart can’t resist.
Lord help me to be a voice that is heard. Help me not to give in to the safe position of quiet. Help me to speak up when I hear things that are in an obvious contradiction to Your Word. Help me to look deeper at things that may not be so obvious, but in the right light, are damaging to those who You died for. Lastly, help to keep me clean of ideas and actions that feed my sinful nature and force me to be quiet.