1 Samuel 17-18 Luke 11:1-28
“Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not work with me is working against me.” (Luke 11:23 NCV)
“God is God, and I am not.” This passage from Luke is an example of why that statement’s a good quote. Were I to be in the situation Jesus was, I might have said “Forget this!” and destroyed the world. He’d just cast out a demon that made a man mute. Some were, rightfully, amazed. Others accused Him of having power over demons because His power came from Beelzebul himself. Then they demanded a sign that Jesus was from God and not the devil. That would have been enough to drive me to destruction – especially after all He’d already done. Jesus, instead, explained why their attacks were ludicrous and how what they were attributing to Beelzebul was actually the sign from Heaven they were looking for. Then, Jesus let His disciples know that anyone not with Him is against Him. It’s a small picture of how things have turned because Jesus had said earlier, anyone who isn’t against Him is for Him. (Luke 9:50)
Some have noted that this seems to be a contradiction. I think it’s a reminder that things were getting harder for Jesus as He approached the cross. At the same time, the situation that engendered those words involved someone who was working for Jesus, while today’s verse deals with people who were working against Jesus. As Jesus approached the cross, there could be no neutrality. When you think about the Kingdom of God today, neutrality still isn’t an option. You either accept the gospel message or you reject it. That seems like a harsh statement. Many people want to think about the message. They want to come to a decision about whether or not the gospel is true. That’s understandable. Until they decide to repent of their sin and seek forgiveness through the grace of Jesus Christ, they aren’t part of the Kingdom of God. Jesus looked at each of His critics in this encounter, desiring that they’d turn to Him. Those who didn’t needed to know the consequences. Jesus still calls people to follow Him and promises citizenship in the Kingdom of God. The entrance requirement is still the same: a relationship with Jesus. You can’t enter without having that relationship, but God offers every person the chance to turn to Him through Jesus. If I could expand the original verse, I think it fits with Scripture to say, “Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not work with me is working against me.” (Luke 11:23 NCV) ‘And I want everyone to be with me.’
Lord, thank You for including me in Your Kingdom. Remind me as I go through life today, that as Your ambassador, I should promote Your kingdom and tell others how great it is.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.