Jesus and Controversy

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19).

Some people stir up controversy because of their personality or psychological bent. Wherever they go, controversy soon follows. Jesus provoked controversy, but for a different set of reasons. He came into this world bearing a message, one of hope. But how could a message of hope incite controversy? When we think of hope, we think positive thoughts. Jesus arouses controversy for the following reasons:

1. Jesus confronts the darkness.
The light shines in the darkness, but also reproves it. Even followers of Jesus can stimulate controversy because of who they represent:

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:8-11).

We walk in the light, and when we shine that light in the darkness we can expect various responses, not all of them friendly.

2. Jesus provides the only hope for man.
Jesus did not become a point of contention because He proclaimed hope, but when He claimed to be the only hope of the world, people took offense. He put it to the religious leaders of the day, and challenged the truth of their teachings. Their teachings could not stand up to Scripture, so they reacted violently toward Jesus.

3. No one can claim neutrality toward Jesus.
The message of God’s Word penetrates to the core of man’s being (Hebrews 4:12). No one can brush it off without consequences. The message speaks to our hearts. Some, when they heard it, were cut to the heart and repented (Acts 2:37-38). Others were equally affected by the message, but reacted angrily (Acts 7:54).

Jesus brings people to decision. For some, His message is an aroma to life, but for others an aroma of death (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). No one can claim neutrality with Jesus. In fact, our faith and the message of life through Jesus can even divide families (Luke 12:49-53).

God’s people can expect mixed reactions from people, but remember to keep holding up the light. Jesus promised that He would never leave or forsake us, and that He would be with us to the end of the age (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20).

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