Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shepastor: “The Half Has Not Been Told…Be Careful With Accusations”

Jesus Faces Pilate
11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” 14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly
. Matthew 27: 11-14, NKJV

There comes a time when enough has been said, enough has been shown, enough has been given, enough has been presented. There comes a time when no matter what you say or do, people are going to believe whatever they want to believe. There comes a time when we like the song writer must declare, “May the works I’ve done, speak for me.”

A few days ago, The Advocate, which is the State of Louisiana’s largest news paper called out President Obama and declared, "A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero." All of the major news networks began to loop the story. Some pounced, “A real leader would cut their vacation short and get down there as soon as possible.” CNN began interviewing individuals who echoed the same sentiments. By all appearances, the President was being selfish, insensitive and out of touch…how could he remain at Martha’s Vineyard, leisurely playing golf with friends and family, sipping bear and enjoying the views while thousands of individuals suffered amid historic floods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana?

What kind of President, what kind of leader would do such a thing? With glee, his accusers ripped him from head to toe. Hoping to damage his legacy and paint him as a cerebral, out of touch stiff that really does not care about the people, pundits loudly accused President Obama. But the President, stayed the course, remained focused and did what was right and best. He understood his mission.

I must admit, the story line was so convincing, I turned to my husband and said, “Oooh, I hope the President hurries and gets down there. It does look bad for him not to go.” But then, the governor of Louisiana came on and said, “We would much rather the President wait for 11 to 14 days before coming.” He went on to explain that the man power, to clear the area, the effort it would take to clean and prepare the highway to make ready for the Secret Service and his arrival, the resources it would take to accommodate him…all of these energies would best be used to assist THE PEOPLE rather than hosting a dignitary.

WOW! I had not thought of all of that. On the surface, it looked like one thing, but THE HALF HAD NOT BEEN TOLD… The President was thinking about the people. He cared enough to ensure that the necessary people and resources would be sent, not for a photo op, but to HELP!!!

How often do we jump to conclusions, form opinions, make accusations because of how things “appear?” Jesus was a victim of false accusations and individuals who were jealous, insecure and misguided. Throughout His journey here on earth, Jesus was misunderstood.

Jesus was misunderstood by His earthly family… Although Mary was visited by the Angel Gabrielle who told her that she would conceive and give birth to a baby boy without having physical intimacy with a man, Mary still saw Jesus as her “little boy.” Not really understanding his calling, not quite grasping his mission, she sought to raise him, nurture him, love him and protect him as any mother would. There was nothing wrong with that from a human perspective, but the problem was Jesus was no ordinary baby boy, he was God wrapped up in human flesh who came to save a dying world!

Jesus had to remind his mother that he had “to be about His Father’s business.” But the half had not been told. As Jesus stood up in the Temple and began to read from the Prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound… THIS DAY has this scripture been fulfilled in your hearing!” his brothers became concerned… “Momma, we’ve got to go and get Jesus for he has lost his mind! The members of the Synagogue became angry and called Jesus a blasphemer, the community members became incensed and declared, “Isn’t this the carpenter Joseph’s son? Who does he think he is?”

The text says that Jesus could there do no mighty works except to lay his hand on a few sick folk and heal them and he marveled at their unbelief. Jesus was accused of being a blasphemer, out of his head and arrogant, but the half had not been told… Despite all of these things, Jesus remained focused upon his mission…
Jesus was misunderstood by his disciples…. We must applaud them for forsaking everything and following Jesus, but they really did not understand what they were getting themselves into. They walked with him daily…they saw him cause the lame to walk, the mute to talk, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the demoniacs made whole, the diseased cured and the dead raised, YET they misunderstood his mission, his vision, his plan his ministry. And while they did not openly accuse Jesus, Jesus discerned their minds, their hearts, their spirits. He asked them, “Who do men say that I am…?” then he frankly asked him, “Who do YOU say that I am?”

Jesus understood that even though he’d walked with them for three long years, ate with them, rested with them, fished with them, ministered with them, prayed with them, performed miracles before them, they still did not know him. It’s a sad thing to have people to walk with you, observe you, benefit from you, be supported, loved and lifted by you, but still don’t know you, still question your character, your motives, your love. They were not necessarily accusing him outwardly, but in their hearts they were questioning, resenting and ultimately accusing… Can’t you imagine their thoughts? “Why isn’t he doing more to help us over throw the Roman Government? Why is he eating with sinners? Why is John his favorite? Why is he always taking those three with him? Why can’t we sit on the left and the right? He probably shouldn’t have thrown those money changers out of the Temple. They could have helped us with the ministry! I don’t think he should have called the Pharisees hypocrites and white washed sepulchers, they might really get mad and make things really uncomfortable for us! Why won’t he show us this Kingdom he’s always referring to? Is he really who he says he is?” But the HALF HAD NOT BEEN TOLD!!!
Despite all of these things, Jesus remained focused upon His mission.

Jesus’ mission was higher and greater than they could imagine. Jesus did not come to hang out with the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance. Jesus did not come to set up an earthly Kingdom, Jesus came to prepare us for a Heavenly Kingdom. Even those closest to him falsely accused and misunderstood him.

Ultimately, Jesus was hated and accused by the religious leaders…
They hated and accused Jesus not because they were concerned about the people, not because they thought he was a devil, but because they were concerned about their place…what they perceived to be their positions and the things that they thought they’d gained in they eyes of the Roman Government and the people. They were concerned about their territory and the Synagogue changing from what they wanted, under their control and their influence. They were insecure, envious, resentful, angry and deadly.

Accusations are horrible things.
If you’ve ever experienced the pain of unfounded, false accusations, you can imagine the anguish Jesus must have felt. People are quick to believe the ugly, the twisted, the salacious with little or no evidence. Often the people for whom you have done the most, loved the most, helped the most, given the most will be the first in line to resent and accuse you.

But for the accused, the falsely accused, there comes a time when you have to look at Jesus’ response and do like wise. There comes a time when after you’ve given your all, done your best, shared your love, opened your heart, shed blood, sweat and tears and people are still suggesting you have ulterior motives and dark agendas, there comes a time when you must keep your tongue with a bridal and let God give the answer. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Jesus could have called ten thousand angels to come to his rescue, but Jesus was on a mission and he didn’t say a mumbling word.

We must remember that we too are on a mission. There will be times when we will be misunderstood. There will be times when the very people you’ve helped, loved, nurtured, supported and opened doors for will falsely accuse you, resent you and treat you as if you are nothing and nobody. But remember Jesus…after all that Jesus had done, they mocked him, scorned him, spat upon him, beat him, tortured him and ultimately crucified him, but on the third day Jesus got up with ALL POWER IN HIS HANDS!

Be careful who you accuse – you don’t know the whole story. Be careful how you go about believing, receiving and repeating accusations, the seeds you sew today will come back to haunt you. Reaping season is long and hard. Reaping season is bigger and more painful than you can imagine. Reaping season impacts not only you, but your household, your family, your children and those around you. Be careful who you accuse, how you accuse. Remember, you don’t know the whole story and things are not always what they seem! Stop and ask yourself, “Is there something that I may not know?” Stop and ask yourself, “Is it something that I am projecting onto that person that maybe is not in them, but me? Stop and ask yourself, “Why am I so quick to receive all this negativity?” Remember each time you point your finger, four are pointed back at you!

Let your works speak for you. Don’t get caught up in trying to answer every question, don’t respond to every critic, don’t try to set right every rumor, don’t try to please every disgruntled individual – live your life to the glory of God. Stay focused upon pleasing God. Like Jesus, remember your mission – listen, trust and obey God, treat your neighbor as you want to be treated. Place and keep God first in your life. Love unconditionally, forgive and keep on moving forward. And God Himself will fight your battles, God Himself will show Himself strong on your behalf. God Himself will make the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth. God Himself will vindicate your name and one day will give you a crown of glory!

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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