Love Him or Hate Him
Jesus brings out the strongest feelings in the people he encounters. In the Bible, the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give us many different examples. Responses may vary from person to person but are always definitive. The responses may even be diametrically opposite.
For instance, some want to die for Jesus (Peter), while others wish to kill him (religious leaders). Some seek to follow him (a delivered demoniac) while others ask him to leave (the villagers the demoniac terrorized). Jesus’ saliva heals a man’s physical blindness while spiritually blind men spit in his face. Some wash his feet with tears while others pierce his feet with nails. Some worship him while others blaspheme him.
When it comes to Jesus, there just seems to be no middle ground. You either love him or hate him. Or, as John the disciple writes in the introduction to his Gospel, people either “did not receive him” (1:11) or they “did receive him” (1:12). Simply, there are only two options: receive Jesus or reject Jesus.
Rebuke with Encouragement
As the Bible closes, we discover it isn’t just individuals who respond differently to Jesus. Churches do also. Revelation 2 and 3 describe seven different churches responding in seven different ways to Jesus. While two are commended, five of the seven have something serious to correct. These churches have lost a grip on good doctrine, lost a passion for personal holiness, lost an activism that comes from faith, and even lost love for Jesus.
These churches receive rebuke from Jesus, but he offers them encouragement as well. With his assessment of each church also comes an invitation to respond to him in faith. And as we study these churches, we have the very same opportunity they did to repent of sin and return by faith to Jesus.
How Do We Respond to Jesus?
We will be asking each other some very important questions over the next few weeks as we study the first three chapters of Revelation. Questions like
- How does my family respond to Jesus?
- How does my Community Group respond to Jesus?
- How does my church respond to Jesus?
But the most important question will be: How do I respond to Jesus’ initiative?
Please pray for those responsible for leading, serving, and caring for all of Mars Hill as we take a close look at our lives and our churches. Maybe we will learn, much like the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3, that each Mars Hill church has different strengths and different sins. And hopefully we will all be unified in repenting of sin and returning to our senior pastor, Jesus Christ.