This week the Rock church continued on in the series about who is Jesus really? As we continue to learn about who He really is, our ability to understand and defend the identity of Christ as outlined in the Bible is maximized. This week we will see how Jesus' critics did more to prove His identity than to disprove it.
The Glass is Half
Pastor Miles began by displaying a picture of a glass of water that was partially filled. He asked the church to complete the statement, "This glass is half _____." Some people always see the glass as half empty while others see it half filled. Though Pastor Miles' hope was that people would see the glass half full, the message this weekend was directed towards those who see the glass half empty.
A critic is one who is inclined to find fault in someone else. Pastor Miles mentioned how he went with his wife to therapy last week. He knew immediately that he would need to clarify what he said because a critic may think that his wife and him are having marriage troubles. To clarify, he said that he went with his wife to physical therapy for her injured shoulder.
Critics are always analyzing situations or people trying to find the fault in them. They live and breathe to find something wrong.
Remember though that critics cannot define who you are or defeat you. Critics criticize because they want to prevent other's successes, and because they are insecure, and they want to pull others down to make themselves feel better. If you find yourself acting as the critic go to God and ask Him to reveal to you your own issues.
The Good Critic
It is also important to see that an analytical mind, like that of a critic, isn't always bad. Some people have big ideas and other people with a more analytical mind are able to work out the plans of those ideas to make them work. If we use a critical or analytical mind to glorify God, for His purposes, it is good.
However, we must keep in mind that the Devil seeks to use our strengths and weaknesses for his purpose to cause people to see the glass as half-empty, therefore causing people to believe that failure is imminent.
Critics of Christ
Jesus had critics of his own to deal with. What is interesting to note about those who criticized Jesus was that they tell a lot for who Christ is and therefore validate who He is, but in doing this they also tell a lot about themselves, and therefore devaluate themselves.
There were different ways and reasons as to why Jesus was criticized. One reason was because of envy and evil thoughts on the part of His critics. His critics denied the power in which He worked His miracles, they tried to trap Him in what He said, they compared Him to other evil people, and lastly they used the Bible against Him.
Jesus' critics strived to destroy Him. Pastor Miles showed four different ways Jesus' critics attempt to destroy Him in the end of the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew 26:59-61 states, now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, "This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days."
False witnesses spread lies about Jesus because He taught with great authority and wisdom.
Matthew 26:64-66 states, Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?" They answered and said, "He is deserving of death."
Jesus was accused of blasphemy because He claimed to be the God in the flesh.
Matthew 27:39-43 states, and those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, I am the Son of God.
His critics mocked him while He suffered, and attempted to discredit His claim to save others.
Strived to Prove Him Wrong
Matthew 27:62-66 states, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, After three days I will rise. Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first.
Pilate said to them, You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how. So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
His critics guarded the tomb of Jesus to try and prove that His promise to rise three days after He died wasn't true.
Jesus Cannot be Criticized
It is clear that Jesus was perfect. He was God. Whatever His critics said was wrong about Him only served to discredit them because there is no wrong with Jesus.
Do you see the glass half full or half empty? Do you find yourself only seeing the faults in others or even yourself? Or are you a critic of Jesus? If you have questions or doubts about Christ, do you have evidence to prove it?
The Bible clearly outlines who Jesus is; therefore, we have no need to doubt Him or the validity of His claims.
Stop fighting Him, surrender all your doubts and worries to Jesus Christ and trust Him, knowing that what the Bible tells us about Jesus Christ is truth that we can rely upon.
As Christians we need to learn not only to not be critics of Christ, but also not to be critics of each other. We must speak the truth in love. All throughout the Bible are exhortations to love one another. Let's stop criticizing and start loving.