Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself.
(Hebrews 12:3 KJV)
There is much that we can learn from the daily experience of our Lord, who endured such contradiction of sinners throughout His entire earthly existence. More often than not, it is those closest to us who present the greatest challenge of contradiction, yet God has ordained the correction of contradiction as part of the process of conforming us into the image and likeness of His beloved Son, Jesus.
There may be no greater example of this in the life of our Lord than impulsive Peter. When Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?” Peter spoke on behalf of the twelve: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Peter was spot-on in his confession of Jesus as the promised Messiah, and Jesus confirmed this truth, saying warmly, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.”
Just a few verses later, however, after Jesus predicted His death at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law, Peter took Jesus aside, thinking to rebuke the Christ: “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” Peter clearly did not grasp what his Christological confession truly meant; Jesus endured the contradiction of Peter against Himself and then delivered this stinging rebuke of His own: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23).
We have all experienced the challenge of contradiction . . . but how well do we endure it and what do we learn from the experience? There is no doubt that our God is ready, willing, and perfectly able to use contradiction as a way of correction in our lives, if we will but receive it for this purpose. But far too often, when we are opposed by a friend, family member, or colleague, we lash out, either to defend ourselves or to defeat our perceived “opponent.”
We must keep in view that God sends the correction of contradiction in order to sanctify us and grow us into Christlikeness. The Potter is molding His clay, removing all the flaws, such as pride, impatience, and selfish ambition, to name just a few. He will do that by any means necessary.
So . . . how have you been dealing with those closest to you who become a contradiction? Remember, it’s not what happens to you that makes the greatest difference in how your life works out; what matters is what you do with what happens. Let me encourage you to receive the correction of contradiction, knowing that you have the “Cosmic Contradicted One” going before you, beside you, and within you every step of the way.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!