Once Jesus drove a demon out of a man. The man had been mute, but when the evil spirit was exorcized, he began speaking.
The people should have been in awe of the power Jesus displayed. They were not.
Instead they chose to be critical. Some questioned the source of his power and others insisted he do another miracle, as if the first wasn’t enough.
Things aren’t much different today. When someone comes along with a variant understanding of God, lives life in a different manner, or walks with a greater degree of spiritual power, the common response is criticism.
People tend to fear what challenges their status quo, to vilify what is different. They criticize what they don’t understand. It was done to Jesus two millennia ago and it’s still being done today.
Instead of looking for what makes us different, the better response is to focus on how we are the same. Pursue unity; avoid division. Celebrate diversity and embrace variation. I think that’s what Jesus would want us to do.
It is interesting how the Old Testament of the Bible is often in contrast with the New Testament.
For example, in the story about the tower of Babel, God confuses the people’s languages and since they can no longer communicate, they scatter. He did this because they were working together; their goal was so that the world would know them.
Fast-forward a couple thousand years and we hear Jesus praying for unity — that his followers would be one. His goal was so that the world would know God.
A few weeks after this, at Pentecost, language differences were temporarily overcome, with people hearing about Jesus in their native tongue.
Although Jesus’ prayer for unity goes far beyond supernaturally restoring what was lost at Babel, it was a start. But Jesus’ ultimate goal was that his followers would be one, thereby not hampering the spreading of their faith.
Yesterday, in “Adam was a Vegetarian,” I referenced Genesis 9:2-3 were God added meat to mankind’s diet.
There is another interesting item in that passage. In verse two, God says that from then on, all the animals would be afraid of people. This allows us to infer that prior to that time, the animals were not afraid of people. That’s an intriguing thought. Although we have domesticated some animals, most species remain wild. Imagine living without fear and in harmony with animals, being able to sleep next to a lion or hold a rattlesnake of our hands.
And it could happen again. In Isaiah’s prophecy, he looks to a future time when:
“The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.” [Isaiah 11:6]
Mankind living without fear and in harmony with animals. It happened once — and will happen again.