How do we feel when someone tells us the truth about the negative things we do? How can we also feel when someone praises and flatters us?
Do we feel somehow when a minister stands courageously and tells us the truth to the face, the bad things we do at the back?
And how do we also feel when people do not mind telling us where we go wrong but always try to praise us even in the bad things we do? Many times we are not always happy when we do not hear what we want to hear.
In life, the people we love easily are those who praise and flatter us. They hardly tell us the truth but glorify us even when they know we are not doing well. They tell us what we want to hear.
But we often hate and despise those who tell us the truth and point out our mistakes.
This is what happens in the gospel of today between Jesus and His people.
Jesus and His People.
Immediately after his temptation, Jesus went back to Galilee and was teaching under the mighty power of the Holy Spirit. Verse 15 of this chapter says that people began to praise Him because of this.
On the sabbath day, Jesus went to the synagogue and they handed him a scroll of the prophet Isaiah to read. Unrolling the scroll He found Isaiah 61 where it is written: that “the Spirit of the Lord has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted, to proclaim liberty to captives, to make the blind see again, and freedom to those in captive, proclaiming a year of favour from the Lord”.
According to Leviticus 25, the year of Jubilee is a year of freedom. They keep to this every 50 years.
During the year of Jubilee, many who are already enslaved by debts are set free. So, in this gospel, Jesus tells them that this is now fulfilled even while they are listening.
Wow, Jesus received mighty applause for saying that. They appreciated him for the gracious words that He spoke.
Because of this, many of them begin to wonder where Jesus gets all this wisdom. He is Someone they know His background.
This gospel teaches us that knowing about somebody’s background, his father and mother is not a testament that you know what God made him to be.
What you know about a person is different from what God prepares him to be. We do not underrate anyone.
So, while they were questioning the source of His wisdom, Jesus begins to tell them the negative side of them. He tells them their inability to appreciate what they have and how God left them to choose a woman from a non-Jewish town to feed his prophet Elijah and how a Syrian came to be cured by a Jewish prophet while there are many suffering the same ailment in Israel, which indicates their lack of faith in what they have.
In essence, Jesus is telling them that despite they are God’s chosen people, they lack faith in God and this continues to affect them.
While Jesus is still speaking, the same people who praised, and clapped for him for proclaiming favour, freedom, healing etc, changed and pounced on Him to throw him out to die.
Therefore, while He was teaching, healing, and preaching deliverance etc, they were very happy but immediately Jesus begins to tell them their sins in the face, they attack him.
The truth is that not many people can withstand the truth. We always want to hear what we want to hear. What We want to hear is about healing, deliverance, open doors, God will send you a car tomorrow, miracle money. etc.
We do not want to hear about repentance, living in peace and forgiveness. This is the reason prosperity gospel is booming in the country.
We Are Among .
This is also a problem in our time. We love it when people tell us the things we want to hear. This is why evil is still on the increase.
In adoration grounds, we come to fill the church and the arena in large numbers. Then during the Sunday benediction, we have only a few people or do not have at all.
One then begins to ask, what is the difference between the two?
There is no difference. The difference is that on adorations grounds, they talk and preach about deliverance, freedom, healing with tenacity, but Sunday benedictions are solemn.
During crusades and cross overnights, we fill the praying arena shouting on God to send us blessings from heaven, but during morning masses and youth masses, we find only a few people.
We underrate the mass, not knowing the power of the Holy Mass. The reason is that during these night programs, upliftment, breakthrough, etc are preached. But the mass is solemn, yet the mass is the most powerful.
This is why today, the only way to invite people and advertise our programs is to put themes like “come and receive breakthrough”, “come and be blessed”, come and be delivered’.
We hardly see posters with ‘come and repent’. We are yet to see ‘come and save your soul’ come and change from your evil ways’. Such topics can never sell. We sell what we want to hear.
We need People who can tell us the Truth.
Many people today hate their friends, brothers, and sisters not because they did anything bad, but because they are not among those that tell them what they want to hear. We are not always happy when we do not hear what we want to hear.
Imagine how our government would be if they surround themselves with those who tell our president, our governors, our senators the truth.
We need people who can tell them where they are not doing well and where they are doing well. Then they will seek what they will do to correct them. If such happens, things will get well with us.
Today every leader is surrounded by those who sing their praises whether good or bad, and this is why we are not going forward.
In life, we do not only need those who will only sing our praises. We also need those who will always tell us the truth, come rain and come sunshine. We need people who will not always tell us what we want to hear.
Be What You want.
The Jews, who were happy that freedom and healing have come in the person of Christ are the same people that pushed Christ away because He told them what they did not want to hear.
In our churches and communities, the same people that shout and dance during a vigil that God should take away their sorrow may be the same that will sow seeds of discord with people.
They may still be the same people that are living in enmity with one another.
The same people that pray and fast and see heavenly visions may be the same people causing havoc in many families. Many of them are the reasons their families have not seen the light of the day.
We go to church and shout Amen to blessings, and we come back and fight ourselves. How will the blessing come?
If we want freedom and favour, let us also be a source of freedom, favour, hope, and blessings to others.
Jesus loves peace and gives peace. All the times He appears to the apostles after the resurrection, He says to them “peace be with you”.
We cannot be agents of disunity and yet pray for unity. We cannot be chasing the giver of peace Jesus away, and at the same time pray that Jesus gives us peace. Will the peace come like manna?
Let us be what we pray for and be ready to accept what we want to hear and what we do not want to hear.
May God have mercy on us and help us to come back to Him. May He give us the grace to be open to His word. God bless you. Amen.