Nobody wants to be unpopular. Most of us by nature like being part of the group. We therefore seek the approval of the group. It stands to reason that the ideas and opinions of the group will affect us. This is of course known as peer pressure. This is not unique to teenagers. It is part of the human experience. However living our lives constantly seeking the approval of others can be a challenge. You can make some people happy some of the time but you can’t make everybody happy all the time. Usually somebody, or perhaps a multitude of people, will not approve of our attitude or our actions no matter how well intended they are.
Jesus came into this world because of love (John 3:16) and spent his life doing acts of love. Multitudes followed Him in hopes of benefiting from his work. (Matthew 8:1) However Jesus still had plenty of critics. Some groups in particular, the Pharisees and the Scribes could never be pleased.
If Jesus freed someone from demonic possession, they would accuse Him of working with the devil. (Matthew 12:22-37) It didn’t matter that the person’s life was changed for the better, the crippling condition removed and the misery over.
On other occasions the Pharisees would accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. (Mark 3:1-6) Such was the case of the man with the withered hand. The Pharisees were really angry this time and plotted how they could destroy Jesus. This man had suffered with this sickness; most likely making it impossible for him to take care of himself or be productive in any way. Jesus did not charge him. It was a pure act of kindness. But it was on the Sabbath!
Forgiveness was definitely a “no no” for the Scribes. The fact that Jesus was changing the lives of immoral people and helping them to live a life closer to God was of no importance. Jesus would forgive and would often add “now go and sin no more.” The Scribes, who thought Jesus to be only the son of the carpenter, accused Jesus of blasphemy. (Matthew 9:1-8)
Jesus did not change his behavior to silence the critics. He was on a mission and He felt there was only one person He had to please, God. (John 6:38, John 5:19, John 4:34) We too should not live our lives as if it was one big popularity contest. Although it is natural to want to please those we love, our greatest concern must be doing what is right, simply because it is “right.” God whose will is for us to live righteous lives is the only one we must always be sure to please.
- “Out of Order” – the Pharisees’ Verdict on the Beginning of Jesus Christ’s Galilean Ministry (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
- The healing of the paralytic man (carecell.wordpress.com)
- Jesus Does Good on the Sabbath Day (jerfireandhammer.wordpress.com)