Episode 5: Detractors and adversaries
The challenges Jesus Christ faced were presented to him by the people with whom he interacted, at the places and events he attended, and in moments of great contrast – all in the spotlight and scrutiny of a public ministry.
In response to every challenge, Jesus showed love and respect towards people, and demonstrated that his life was one of purpose and a higher call.
When the disciples challenged Jesus, they didn’t seek to discredit him. The challenges came from their unbelief, their pride, and in the form of questions pertaining to his death and resurrection.
The religious rulers who opposed Jesus, however, did seek to discredit him. He questioned their power base and challenged what they taught; speaking against the rules and traditions that at face value excluded people from God’s love. He brought a new understanding of scripture and, in return, they sought to silence him.
Having a public mission that challenged religious traditions and many of the accepted customs of the day meant Jesus had to be ready for confrontation at all hours of the day, everywhere he went.
He was confronted by religious leaders in the synagogues, by individuals in the crowds that followed him, and by people from all walks of life in first-century Galilee.
As we have observed, the challenges that Jesus had to deal with from his close followers, crowds and religious rulers, irrespective of where he travelled, typically presented after a high moment.
There were many contrasting moments in Jesus’ ministry that speak to the constant spiritual challenges he had to face.
The temptation of Jesus Christ in the desert immediately after his baptism and affirmation as the Son of God provide an insight into the timing of the challenges he would encounter.
The temptation experience was in stark contrast to his baptism and affirmation.
In Caesarea Philippi, after the high moment of seeing Peter receive and respond in the revelation from God the Father that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus was challenged and suggested that Peter was speaking the words of Satan, not of God.
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