Early in my Christian life, I sometimes thought about how many of us Christians would follow Jesus if we lived during His time?
I was mainly thinking about the possibility of being killed for our faith, just like most of the apostles were.
However, after I began reading church history and got to know some people whom God was using mightily in my own lifetime, my question shifted from the threat of death to something else.
Imagine . . . a man who claims to be the Messiah, living during your time. This man is impressive, but He’s been accused of the following:
*He’s an illegitimate child (John 8:41).
*He’s a deceiver(John 7:12).
*He’s mentally ill (John 10:20).
*He’s demon possessed (Matt. 9:34; John 7:20).
*He’s Beelzebub [Satan] enfleshed (Matt. 10:25).
*He’s a blasphemer (Matt. 9:3; 26:65; Mark 2:7)
*He’s an open enemy to the Law of Moses. (To put this in modern terms, His teachings and practices went against the Bible).
In addition, His words are regularly misunderstood by His followers (John 21:22-23) and deliberately twisted by His detractors (Matthew 26:60-61).
I’m of course talking about Jesus of Nazareth. He was accused of all of the above.
Because these rumors were so widespread during His day, Scripture says that Jesus was a man of “no reputation” (Philippians 2:7).
The rumors that swirled around Jesus were vicious and unrelenting. But Christ survived them all because He wasn’t tied to His reputation. He placed it firmly on the cross before He went there.
The name devil means “slanderer” and “accuser.” It’s no accident that this is his name. The slandering word and the false accusation is his chief weapon.
Now . . . you’re a Christian “leader” who people respect and follow (your lead).
Go back to Century One and put yourself in Galilee with that band of 12 men and 8 or so women . . . the first followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
Your friends are questioning your judgment. You see, they’ve heard the rumors and believe them.
Not only is your judgment questions, so is your ethics.
You stop getting invitations to speak in the synagogues.
The Jewish counsel no longer invites you to their board meetings.
Your closest friends are wondering: “Why are you palling around and following a demon-possessed man? A servant of the devil? A cult leader? A master manipulator? A deceiver? A “bastard” born out of wedlock?
Hmmm . . .