Al Maxey shares in his Reflections the following quote by Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592): “Obstinacy in sticking to one's opinions is the surest proof of stupidity. Is there anything so cocksure, so immovable, so disdainful, so contemplative, so solemn and serious as an ass.”
It is said that people get angry about the wrongs things, and fail to get angry about the right things. Indeed, much of Jesus’ ministry was interacting with various religious groups who were so strongly opinionated they simply wouldn’t change their minds.
If he healed on the Sabbath he was criticized because he was breaking tradition. When he talked about forgiveness of sins he was told he was overstepping his bounds. When he warned the leaders about the consequences of their actions he was sharply denounced as being a lowly commoner with no business addressing their headship.
A century ago John G. Lake was sharing the gospel in South Africa when there was an outbreak of bubonic plague. He never became sick and those he prayed for became well. The scientists accused him of hiding a secret and they demanded to know what it was.
Lake told them to take the foam that develops on the body of a person afflicted with the plague. They put it under a microscope and the germs were alive. He told them to place the foam on his hand and then inspect the foam. They did as he requested and the germs were now dead. Lake told them, “That is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”
It was no secret; it was the power of life over death, of the strength of light over darkness. While those around Lake wanted a formula, he pointed them to the simplicity of walking by faith. For those who were willing to learn, it was revolutionary.
Is it any wonder Jesus said let those that have ears to hear, hear? Of course in the physical sense they had ears, but in reality they didn’t listen, they didn’t learn, they didn’t allow themselves to be changed.
Turn on any television station and you will find people of all sorts of opinions on all sorts of issues, each sure they are right and amped up to defend why everyone else is wrong. Sometimes religious people are the worst offenders.
Yet there is a different way to grow, a way that takes us beyond our comfort zone and into so much more. Jesus simply said, ‘learn from me…my yoke is easy’ (Mt 11:28-30).
Over the next several articles I invite you to that promise, to come and learn. Deep and wonderful truths await, what Peter called words of life. They have always been there, we simply have to be willing to listen.