A Sign To Be Opposed
A Sign To Be Opposed
When baby Jesus was presented to the Lord in Luke 2:34, Simeon told Mary and Joseph that Jesus was “appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel and for a sign to be opposed.”
Peter 2:8 quotes Isaiah 8:14 in showing that Jesus would be, “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”
We see a small part of that today as greedy merchants eliminate the Christ out of Christmas and, instead, promote a holiday season with Santa and “holiday greetings”. God knew it would be this way thousands of years ago and prophesied such rejection of the truth. Jesus is a Savior from sin, so anyone who believes that must admit his own sinfulness.
But secretly, even Christians, in the pride of their hearts, might adamantly oppose the idea of being down-and-out destitute sinners. “WHO really needs a ‘savior’? Humph!!! We’re not ‘wretched sinners’! Really! Nobody had better think of ME as a WRETCHED SINNER. I’m better than THAT! I’m getting ‘saved’ in the church because of all the things I do for all those other wretched sinners. If they were as good as me, this would be a much better world…..“
It’s a fact that even people in the church may secretly oppose the concept of being a wretched sinner, who can only be saved by the condescending grace of God in the blood of Jesus. God has foretold that Jesus would be this very sort of “sign to be opposed“. Many Jewish leaders were among the first to oppose Jesus as their Savior and, today, there are many purported Christians who deny Jesus as the Savior. They only want to promote Him as a good example, philosopher, or teacher.
For example, when I was in high school eons ago, I used to baby sit the daughters of one of our church elders. Then he would walk me home afterwards. In one conversation on the way home, he pointed out that the main purpose of the church was to teach people to be good. He also stressed how being a church leader was good for his business because it helped people trust him and promoted good will. He, himself, had learned how to be “trustworthy” through the church.
I don’t remember replying, but could not believe that such a person had become an elder in our church and had taken part in a “dedication” service for all those serving as elders.
We need to look deep within ourselves. Are we secretly opposing God’s declaration that we, too, are wretched sinners, who deserve only eternal damnation? Do we want to look at ourselves as being “above” THAT level of human degradation? What “good work” is it that has saved us?
So, many go to church because they think they have finally become good. Pride in church work uplifts them, instead of God’s grace in forgiving them. They think they’re rich because of their forced “good works”, but they don’t realize just how poor they really are.
The Laodiceans had this problem. So Jesus lovingly advises them in Revelation 3:15-22,
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
Because you say, ‘I am rich and have become wealthy and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.
He who overcomes I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Even though Jesus knows that we are proud, arrogant, opposed to thinking of ourselves as wretched sinners, and not wanting to humble ourselves, He still lovingly, tenderly, and firmly advises us to overcome these sinful tendencies or face the consequences.
Jesus knows the depths of our wretched pride. It’s the same pride that condemns Satan to eternal damnation. Jesus urges us to “buy” gold from Him. We “buy” by having faith in the truths set before us in His word.
What is this fine gold? It’s the best treasure — the honest, deep-down realization that we are destitute, wretched sinners. It’s the truth that we can’t do one single thing to gain eternal life in heaven. And it’s the heart-opening truth that Jesus really has done everything in our behalf. It’s the truth that Jesus has paid our whole debt on the cross.
The naked truth is our utter wretchedness. Come Judgment Day everyone will see our miserable, filthy nakedness. They’ll see our every sinful thought — UNLESS — we are clothed in those white garments that we can “buy” by faith in the redeeming blood of Jesus. We shouldn’t be too proud to let Jesus cover us up with His holiness. We need His covering. Who wants such wretchedness displayed for the whole world to see?
Then Jesus wants us to “buy” eye salve so that we can really see. See our utterly sinful nature. See the absolute holiness of God. See our unworthiness. See our condemnation. See the perfect love of God in the sacrificial blood of Jesus that was shed for us, even while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8 — “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”)
Jesus reprimands us in love. He wants us to get a grip on what we really are — filthy sinners in desperate need of His free gift of salvation. Jesus greatly desires to have a wonderful fellowship with us, to sit down and feast with us, to have heartfelt conversation and the bond of love.
To bond in love with Jesus we have to realize that we are wretched sinners. And we have to accept the white garment that Jesus is handing to us. It’s free. It covers every single little sin. It makes us pure and holy in God’s eyes.
Don’t be too proud to accept the blood of Jesus as your covering. If you can’t accept absolute, total forgiveness in Jesus’ blood, He is a “rock of offense“ to you. For you, He is “a sign to be opposed“.
Is that really how it should be, considering all of God’s testimony in the Bible about His free salvation in Jesus only? God loves us. It’s something to think about.