Photo by Edward Lim, Creative Commons
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.
How Jesus Loved People:
Jesus was rejected. He was rejected in a way you or I will probably never have to experience. He had just read from the scroll of Isaiah, implying very strongly He was the One Isaiah was referring to. He had just told the Jews God miraculously provided for a Gentile widow, rather than a Jew, through Elijah. (see 1 Kings 17:8-16) And He had just told the Jews God miraculously healed a Gentile of leprosy, rather than a Jew, through Elisha. (see 2 Kings 5:1-14)
These things He said infuriated them. And the enraged mob left the synagogue en masse. They took Him to the edge of a cliff to throw Him off. (Luke 4:16-30)
I’ve never been rejected in that way. Have you? So how does Jesus respond to what can only be described as murderous hatred?
He does good. In John 4:46-54 we see Jesus, still in Galilee, not long after He had suffered at the hands of the Galileans, doing good. An official’s son lay sick, and Jesus healed him.
How to Love Like Jesus:
I lost all my followers, yesterday. What I experienced is not even remotely close to the rejection and suffering Jesus experienced, because I’m only talking about Twitter followers. I’m trying to figure out a way to reach the lost, on Twitter, and I made some sort of mistake in the process, so my account was suspended for it. And now I’m suffering (sort of).
Did you know the Bible tells you what God’s will is for you when you’re suffering? 1 Peter 2:15 tells us we’re to do good when we’re suffering.
To this you were called by God because Jesus, the One who saved you, set an example for you. (see 1 Peter 2:21-24) He did good and gained followers. He did more good and some followers rejected Him. He did more good and nearly all His followers rejected Him. He did even more good and they reviled Him. He did yet more good and they crucified Him.
So you might say, why would I do good? Jesus suffered at the hands of the Galileans and the religious leadership of His day and responded by doing good, and where did that get Him? He lost nearly all His followers, He was reviled, and He was crucified.
That’s true, but what happened in the end? What good was done — ultimately? The relatively few disciples who remained, turned the world upside down for Christ! The consistent good Jesus did while suffering at the hands of others resulted in an astounding bountiful crop for God’s kingdom. According to the Daily Mail, a British online newspaper, Jesus Christ has 2.2 billion followers today.
So how do you love like Jesus? Do good in response to suffering — even when you don’t feel like it, or perhaps, especially when you don’t feel like it.
And yes, you might do good and lose followers for it. You might be reviled for it. You might even be crucified for it. But it doesn’t matter, do good anyway.
Because it’s God’s will for you when you suffer.
Because you were called by God to respond this way.
Because ultimately it will bear abundant fruit.
Jesus loved people by consistently doing good in the face of rejection and suffering.
You can too.
Bob Thornley teaching: 9/5/12