Matthew 9:32-34—Just as they were going out, a demon-possessed man who was unable to speak was brought to Him. When the demon had been driven out, the man spoke. And the crowds were amazed, saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons!”
We seldom speak about the emotions of Jesus yet, surely in His humanity, He felt elation and pain that Scripture does not always provide. I would imagine that in the passage above, Jesus, upon rescuing a man made mute by his demon, felt joy in the praise of the crowd. Their praise melded with His humility brought glory to His Father in heaven. Jesus handled praise perfectly. He did not seek it. He never let the amazement of people distract Him from His purpose. Adulation, in truth, was at times a detriment to His ability to serve, because crowd-agenda was often not in synch with heaven’s agenda.
Have you ever noticed that when the multitude is amazed there are still detractors? Despite the obvious miracle, the religious leaders accused Jesus of performing through Satan’s power. Did their criticism hurt Him? These men who were Torah-experts, who wore the law around their waist like a belt, and, who claimed to be devoted to God, could not even recognize the authority and legitimacy of His Son! Where the crowd saw divine they saw deviousness. Their words must have cut the Messiah and their jealousy surely gave Him grief.
I find that the slightest criticism is far weightier than praise. When I am criticized, I may dwell on the words for days. I turn them over in my head at the cost of sleep. I wrestle with the perceived unfairness. My heart feels the wound and my head seeks fault in the actions and thoughts of my detractor. It is hard to throw off criticism.
The gospels paint a consistent picture that no matter what came out of the mouths of Jesus’ critics, He persevered in His mission. Sometimes He revealed the folly of their logic. Occasionally, as in Mark 3:20-30, He warned them about blasphemy. Often He just remained silent. Always, He entrusted His life in the hands of His Father. He remained balanced, and that is the lesson for us.
When the crowd is amazed and you have done well, give glory to God and continue moving. When the detractors pulverize you with accusations, keep your eyes on Jesus. Stay steady. Don’t let the words of others dictate your behavior—follow the King and please Him. The older I get in Christ; words lift or bother me less, because I am learning that the point of balance is in loving the Lord and living for Him. Something to think about . . . in reveration!
Place the situation into perspective.—Salvatore R. Maddi and Deborah M. Khoshaba in Resilience at Work: How to Succeed No Matter What Life Throws at You
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)