Our Lord faced a great deal of opposition in His day. It wasn’t because He was a bad person… quite the opposite. They hated Him for his goodness. They hated the Truth He personified. We understand in the age of the Church that He came to die for our sins on the cross… the leaders of His day just wanted Him dead because His Truth was obnoxious and threatening to them.
Wisdom 2:12 Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is annoying to us; he opposes our actions, reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.
13 He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD.
14 To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us,
15 Because his life is not like that of others, and different are his ways.
16 He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the righteous and boasts that God is his Father.
17 Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him in the end.
18 For if the righteous one is the son of God, God will help him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
19 With violence and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.
20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
It has always been that way. The spirit of lies in the world has always hated the Truth and those who speak it. Whenever the spirit of the world has authority, free speech is outlawed. Christians are not allowed to proselytize in Islamic lands. Catholics and Jews are murdered for their faith. “Polite society” isn’t allowed to discuss politics and religion. The end result is a disordered society where the Truth is never heard and interpersonal contact is stunted… by design. The Truth may be considered politically incorrect… but it is always correct.
Our First Amendment enshrines our God-given right to freely speak in the firmament of our laws. This isn’t the freedom to say what is approved–we don’t need laws to protect acceptable speech. Our Founding Fathers wanted to be sure we would always have the ability to speak our minds… and those who speak the Truth will always ruffle feathers and someone will take offense. In essence, our First Amendment protects our right to offend. That runs contrary to modern sensibilities.
The religious leaders in our Lord’s day sought ways to condemn Him. Since our Lord lived a perfect life, their only avenue was to find some way that they could charge Him with transgressing the laws of the religious authorities–their laws, not God’s. One method used repeatedly was our Lord’s works of mercy on the Sabbath. The religious leaders taught that nothing was to be done on the Sabbath… not even good works. What they missed was the whole purpose of their observance… they were supposed to be following God’s Will! Why observe the Sabbath at all except that it is God’s Will? Keeping the Sabbath holy isn’t just an exercise of inward reflection and self-denial, it is also an act of love. Through observance of the Sabbath, we express love for God and, by extension, to all of those made in His image and likeness. Can we not serve another in need?
Luke 6 On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely to see if he would cure on the sabbath so that they might discover a reason to accuse him. But he realized their intentions and said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up and stand before us.” And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Looking around at them all, he then said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
In a modern world that tells us to keep our religion to ourselves, is it lawful to freely exercise our religion? We can’t shrink from the public sphere and expect the public to respect the Way of the Lord. The world falls into darkness when it no longer hears the light of Truth.