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Choosing Battles

Jesus didn’t argue or comment on every issue. He had priorities and refused to be distracted.

One case is in Luke 12:

“Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’” (vv.12-15).

The issue was equality—economic equality. We don’t know if this man or his brothers were in the wrong. Jesus didn’t pursue the situation. He was not afraid or heartless. He was simply not in a position to rule in such matters. That was the job of the courts. Jesus had a higher mission. More importantly, He did something that lawyers and judges cannot do. He went to the real root of many such wrangles. He taught about our attitude toward money and things. This was a matter of the heart which no court or legislature can help. If men were content instead of covetous, many disputes about money would never begin.

Another case is in Luke 13:

“There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish’” (vv.1-3).

People like to talk about what others do, especially if it is high-profile or scandalous. This is one reason social media are so alluring. It is also why news is so addictive. In this situation Pilate ordered the execution of certain Galilean Jews who were at the temple to worship. This story had all the features of a headline story: tragedy, government intervention, death and religion. But Jesus didn’t ask for details. He didn’t comment on Pilate’s order. He briefly addressed a moral issue, explaining that this tragedy didn’t happen because God was punishing these Galileans for their sins. Then He turned the discussion to the others. Jesus said let’s talk about you. He took a social and political event and taught a spiritual lesson. The Lord didn’t say, “Unless you stop breaking the law, you will die also.” He said, “Unless you repent…” Repentance is a personal matter. It is a heart issue. What good is it to talk about current events if one’s soul is not right with God? Which is more important?

Jesus was a leader, not a follower. He would not allow others to take Him down a path that would have diverted Him from the higher road of His work. As Christians we know what is important and worthy of discussion better than people in the world. Be strong and don’t allow yourself to be distracted.


West End Church of Christ Bulletin for June 13, 2021


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