John 7:53-8:1 (NIV)
Then each went to his own home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
The meeting of the Pharisees was unproductive, as the group was divided. So, everyone simply went home. Jesus continued to teach in the temple until nearly sundown, then went to His usual campsite on the west slope of the Mount of Olives opposite the temple.
Opposition didn’t bother Jesus. In fact, He expected it and accepted it as simply a part of the work that He had been sent to do. He knew two things that helped Him to maintain His perspective. First, a key part of His work was overcoming the inertia that had set into God’s people and had cause them to stagnate in their spiritual progress. Overcoming inertia is always difficult in the beginning. Until enough momentum is built up, inertia “pushes back”, struggling to maintain the status quo. So, the resistance Jesus experienced didn’t discourage Him; it simply encouraged Him to continue pushing until things began to move.
The second thing Jesus knew was that a key part of His work involved recapturing territory that had been usurped by satan. You can see this easily when He confronted and cast out demons. But it is not as obvious when He took on the entrenched power structures that were not simply representative of inertia, but that had become positive tools of the enemy, leading God’s people into a fruitless legalism and urging them to reject God Himself by rejecting the one that He had sent as the Messiah.
Both of these were large-scale, long-term jobs that required Jesus to get up each morning ready to fully engage the mission. They required that He work strategically and never give up, even though the work was often tedious, repetitive, and tiring, and even though many days ended without any significant fruit to show for His labors. Each night He went to bed tired, slept well, and woke with His purpose and energy renewed, ready to move things forward, even if only slightly.
Father, so much is contained in these two small verses! We face the same two issues today. We also have far too many Christians who have grown complacent and satisfied, and who have developed a terrible inertia that resists change and improvement, satisfied with the status quo. We need Your guidance and power to overcome that inertia and help them to start moving again, and Your will to never give up until inertia is replaced by momentum in the right direction. We are also commissioned by You to recapture territory usurped by the enemy, enslaving the minds and souls of people all around us. We need Your power and guidance in this work as well, so that we can know the best ways to move forward, and faithfulness so that we don’t give up when we get push-back. Help us, Lord, to be faithful and true to our mission, just as Jesus was to His. Amen.