Truth can cause tension. That isn’t necessarily bad, but it can be awkward. Are we okay with awkward???
Jesus caused all kinds of tension. On purpose. With a goal. God’s goal.
Shocking people into awareness can have a lot of different results. Hopefully, good results. People can be spurred to behave differently, or to recognize a situation for what it really is, so they can react.
At the well, Jesus caused a lot of tension in the Samaritan woman, who, once engaged, transitioned from sinful outcast to sheep herder and then lead a whole town to Jesus’ feet. (John 4)
Nicodemus, who visited Jesus by night at first, went from a ruler, and Pharisee, who questioned Jesus’ teaching, to a person who caused tension by questioning his fellow Pharisees for the way they treated Jesus and His teachings. Then, after Jesus’ death, Nicodemus humbly helped provide spices, and burial for Jesus…a very public act right in the face of his peers, who had wanted Jesus to die. (John chapters 3, 7, and 19)
Jesus created tension as He openly prayed to God before raising Lazarus from the grave, to allow all who heard to enter in to understanding the power God has over death, and life. This also flew in the face of Jewish leaders, who considered killing Lazarus because of it. (Poor Lazarus – almost dead twice in one week!) [John 11 and 12]
Jesus seems to have been comfortable with creating tension to achieve God’s goals. I wonder if He didn’t actually enjoy it occasionally. I personally sometimes struggle with the tensions that occur when I am trying to witness to someone, or to explain a biblical doctrine they don’t agree with – like women in ministry. But tension is the very tool that brings people out of lethargy or ignorance and into attention, and even action – if they can be reached – not everyone listens…even to Jesus Christ! That is a tension we must also be comfortable with.
In the end, Jesus paid the ultimate “earthly” price for the tensions He caused…but not before accomplishing all God’s heavenly goals here on earth.
Last week, I was privileged to get to listen to Pastor Mary speak to people at East Haven Baptist church (a beautiful place, btw) about national security. The tension in the room was palpable almost from the very beginning of her speech. Well prepared and riveting as her talk was, when, at the end, it was time for questions, a great one rose right away. “What can we do about this?” Pastor Mary had great answers, and people went away with new understandings, and goals in mind, not to mention being shocked by all they heard. (You need to hear her speak on this!) After listening to her speak, and thinking about the differences I want to make, I knew that I would have to learn to better embrace tension, and the effects it has, if I want to really have an earthly impact with the heavenly goals I feel God has for my life.
Do you stand in the same place? We are all called by God. We have all been given something by God we can be nervous about sharing or doing, or that we put off all together to avoid tension or embarrassment. Let’s stand firm, and, with love, embrace our calls, and give our messages, even if it means discomfort. It is what we are called to do, and reaching God’s goals – knowing we got to partner with The Almighty – is an awesome accomplishment!
Mt 10:24-31 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. NKJV
July 8, 2021