Perhaps Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe do not strike a cord in our memory. These cities hosted numerous miracles occurring via Paul, Barnabas, Luke, and the apostles. Yet, in each place the miraculous signs were not greeted with joy by all who witnessed them. The unbelieving Jews of the synagogue, the Pharisees, and men of the mystics were angry with the healings that took place. In each of these places, the Bible says that the disciples “escaped” from being stoned. Can you imagine? Doing good resulted in death threats insomuch that they had to run for their lives.
Jesus found Himself at these same crossroads of jealousy and religious preservation. The Pharisees hated His miracle power. They called Him Beelzebub or a sinner. They even claimed that He performed the wonders through the power of the devil. The business men of Gadarea in Mark chapter 5 asked Jesus to leave their city even though He had delivered the possessed man from a legion of demons. The very maniac who made their lives miserable was sitting, clothed, and in his right mind, but the cost of his healing outweighed their desire for the presence of the Healer.
If the response of the crowd dictated our Gospel message, we might never preach again. If we were hoping for acceptance by the world’s standards, we would never engage in this spiritual journey. I caution you, do not think that you will be received just because you love the Lord. Don’t buy into that false nothing that doing good or helping people escape a life of addiction or turmoil will garnish the approval of carnally minded people. Darkness does not want the Light to invade its space. If the disciples based their prayers and preaching on the affirmation of the crowd, nothing would have been done.
It might even be said that opposition itself is positive proof that you are on the right track. While I would not prescribe that filter in every situation, it is true that the godly steps we take will find resistance from the devil and the world. This might have always been true, and yet, I am confident in this: From here on out, living this Holy life; teaching the scriptural plan of salvation; and taking a stand for Biblical Truth will come at a cost. We will not be accepted.
Ultimately, our response to this call of God upon our lives reflects the answer that Peter and John gave when they had to give an account for the healing of the lame man. Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole