IGNORING WHAT THEY SAY
©2009 Narrowgate Publishing
“Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ “ --Mark 5:36
Jesus gives us our example. He ignored people who ridiculed or disbelieved in what He was doing. He spoke the truth. He did what He saw His Father doing. He would not be put off or discouraged by the unbelief of other people from obeying the Lord God.
In this case, He had been asked by the local synagogue ruler, Jairus, to come and heal the man’s daughter, who was on the point of death. While Jesus was on the way messengers came and told them not to bother, for Jairus’ daughter was already dead.
Before Jairus could react, Jesus said “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
By saying this, Jesus became an object of ridicule. To heal the sick is one thing, but to raise the dead is entirely another, went the crowd’s reasoning. After all, there are miracles and then there are MIRACLES. We can’t expect God to do MIRACLES. Only miracles are allowed. The hard hearts were beating fast. The sweat was breaking out on brows all around. This was territory that even God couldn’t march into.
When you think about it from a logical standpoint, using even our simple knowledge of science, what’s the difference between healing a blind man, casting out a legion of demons, feeding a huge crowd from a small basket of food, or…raising a dead person to life? All are impossible with men. Only God can do any of these things.
And that brings me to the point. For all who follow Jesus, and who seek to know Him intimately, and to be living in Him as branch lives in vine, then we will need to learn to ignore what people say about what we are doing.
For one thing, much of our opposition will come from so-called believers, who inhabit one church group or another.
Paul encountered this already in the First Century. His second letter to Timothy, his son in the faith, is full of warnings about opposition from those who claim to be part of whatever Christian movement seems to be in full swing.
He said that people would often “gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
--2 Tim. 4: 3
Paul warned about men, like Demetrius, who would desert them because following Jesus would require him to give up too much.
--2 Tim. 4: 9,10
He warned that there would be so-called religious people, who appeared as if they believed in Christ, but who only have “a form of godliness but denying its power.” –2 Tim. 3: 5
Paul reminds that there will be men like Hymaneaus and Philetus, who were teaching things that weren’t true. He called it “godless chatter” which bears the fruit of gangrene. --2 Tim. 2: 16-18
One of the truest marks of true disciples of Jesus is their inability to speak anything but the truths of the Word of God. When they speak, it is with disregard for their own personal safety or comfort. Like their Master and Lord, they speak truthfully in love to one another, and live like salt in the world, ignoring what people say, and bringing truth into every conversation.
This is in stark contrast to how I lived most of my life, always worrying about how what I said would be taken, and fretting about what people would say about what I did and said. Perhaps you have the same challenge today.
JESUS CALLS US TO DO WHAT HE’S DOING, AND TO IGNORE WHAT PEOPLE SAY.
If this seems harsh to you, then you must go to Scripture and see for yourself. I urge you to log the many times in the gospels and in Acts when Jesus and His disciples had to ignore what men said in order to do the will of the Father.
A GREAT CHALLENGE WE HAVE TODAY IS THAT THE CHURCH IS SOWN WITH MANY TARES BY THE ENEMY. THERE ARE PEOPLE ALL AROUND US WHO ARE SPEAKING LIES THAT RUN COUNTER TO SCRIPTURE.
The earliest Christians, the true believers, had the same thing happen. They had to be taught, like we have to be taught, that it is God’s Word that prevails, not the will of man, nor the traditions of any church.
Like Paul, I urge you to “join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God…” --2 Tim. 1: 8b
And like Paul, I ask you with tears, “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Because for many, the lure of the world’s ways of thinking and the world’s ways of twisting and distorting the truths of God into something different, are overwhelming in their attractions. These ideas, which appear so good, and so decent, are lies of Satan cleverly disguised, and they are all around us.
Like the people around Jesus, the people around us tell us that God can’t really mean what the Bible says He means. That He likes religion, and big churches, and busy programs, and anyone who kind of looks up to the sky and mutters an occasional prayer is fine with Him, and that all roads lead to Him, and that we are really here to live wonderfully fulfilling, self-satisfied, comfortable lives, and that any kind of difficulty or pain could not be of God, and that Disney has it right—all endings are happy—and that Hollywood is wise, and Wall Street is fine, and that the trees and worms are as important as the souls of men, and that Muslims and Mormons and all sects of any kind are just finding God in their own way, and that there is no heaven and there is no hell, just what we make of our short time on earth here.
Brethren, do we realize what lies have been accepted as truth in our society over the past century? The pervasiveness of paganism, of idol worship, so that even many of God’s elect are deceived? If we do, we must strengthen ourselves in Christ, and find other brethren who realize this, and come together to seek Jesus and His truth together, so we won’t be led astray by these false teachings. Or by people, just like the people Paul, Timothy and the other disciples encountered in the First Century, who claim to be Christians but are not true followers of Jesus.
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Eph. 4: 14,15