(#268 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
Yahshua’s brothers said to Him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that Your disciples there may see the works You do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since You are doing these things, show Yourself to the world.” (John 7:3-4) Yahshua chose otherwise.
There is a great line in the movie Gladiator (2000) when General Maximus says to the wicked Roman Emperor, “The time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end.” It reminds us of Yahshua’s instructions to “sit down in the lowest place” at the wedding feast in Luke 14. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)
Heed His instructions, all who are called to be shepherds and leaders. You are not supposed “take the place of honor” or draw attention to yourself as the central figure. Know when to disappear from the crowds. Even Shaul testified, “Was I crucified for you?” And he was thankful that he had baptized only a few, so that he would not develop followers or draw disciples to himself. (Read 1. Corinthians 1:11-17)
Yahshua actually taught many “controversial” things that made people angry and caused them to leave Him. (Read John 6:43-66) From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more (v. 66). The reason they left was because of His “hard teachings” (v. 60). The teachings were intended to sift (consciously disrupt) His chosen ones like a winnowing fork sifts wheat on the threshing floor (Matthew 3:12). The very thing that made them flee was that which would have saved their souls.
Why do you expect it to be different for you? Why have you styled your messages to actually tickle ears, rather than pierce the conscience? Are you afraid that the crowds will “walk with you no more?” Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season! Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:2-4) Do not be enticed to water down the “hard teachings” so you can appeal to the crowd.
Quite the contrary, Yahshua oftentimes sought to remove Himself from the crowds as commanded by His Father. Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, “I must preach the Kingdom of the Mighty One to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:42-44)
Embrace the change and then get ready to guide others to do the same. Never concern yourself for the accolades and praises from men. Look to Yahweh for everything and nothing else will matter. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
The broad road is for the crowd. The narrow path is the one Yahshua walked. If even He guarded His life as a public figure, what about you? Heed the warning!
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:26-27)