THIS WEEK: A Mission-Minded Person Knows their Opposition!
Traitors and treason are a BIG deal. When the enemy moves from “out there” to “in here” it disrupts the whole mission. It’s hard to fight outwardly when you have an enemy within. It’s perhaps why the opposition spends time on covert and spy missions to infiltrate the ranks and disrupt the battle from within.
Satan loves to use these tactics.
It’s easy to get comfortable and call out evil “out there.” It’s much more challenging to recognize it when it comes from a place we trust.
Jesus confront the opposition in church…in the synagogue at Capernaum. Where is the enemy?
Mark 1:21 They (Jesus and those he called to follow) went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
It’s easy to initially focus on the authority of Jesus’ teaching and the amazed reaction of the people. These focal points raise the question, “What do you mean there was opposition?” It’s there, it just was overpowered by the authority and truth of Jesus’ teaching.
The opposition to the good news Jesus taught? The teachers of the law.
You mean the opposition Satan was using was IN the church BY those who were teaching the Word?
Yes. Satan loves to attack the heart of our mission: the Good News. No better place to do that than to distort the teachings of the Bible with man-focused, man-made ideas.
Here’s three things the teachers of the law did which stood (and still stand) opposed to the Good News. Jesus calls them out later in his ministry. But you begin to see why Jesus’ teaching was so different than the teachers of the law!
- They led the people to focus the people on their good works rather than on the good news. Jesus certainly desires our lives to honor him, but first he wants our hearts to believe in him. Our good deeds are not the entry key to heaven. Our faith is. This is why Jesus condemned the teachers of the law:
Luke 11:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
- They led people to focus on themselves rather than on Christ. Why is this a big deal? Satan loves when we make life about me, myself and I. Jesus wants us to see life about trusting in him, loving God and loving our neighbor. It’s why Jesus warned the people:
Luke 20:46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.
- They led people to focus on outward actions versus their inner condition. Jesus is always interested in our heart first. We can fake outward actions. We can’t fake an unbelieving heart. Jesus calls it out:
Luke 11:25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
Satan loves to attack the good news that our sins are fully forgiven by the perfect life, innocent death and glorious resurrection of Jesus. Don’t let any teacher lead you away from Christ to yourself!
Apply: How does Satan get me to shift my focus off the good news of Jesus and onto my good deeds as the priority for life and salvation?
PRAYER: Lord, we know Satan prowls around and loves to distort your word of truth. Ground us in your words so that nothing will shift our faith from your Son Jesus to ourselves. AMEN.
Passage & Prayer for the ministry of Cross & Crown:
Tuesday – February 2 – Psalm 118:24-25
“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success.”
PRAYER: We give You thanks and rejoice that we can be a part of Your plan. We ask for Your anointing and grace to do what You have called us to do.