Jesus Kept His Focus

Gary Wilkerson

As followers of Christ, we must be careful not to fall into a favorite trap of Satan: becoming entangled in the volatile cultural and political mindset that is rife in our world. As Satan makes the world more furious at Christians, he is trying to make us angry and retaliatory. In other words, he wants to replace our deep peace in Jesus with contentiousness, causing us to resist the assaults of persecution rather than enduring them for the sake of the gospel.

The church is not involved in a chess match with the secular world, moving pieces strategically with one goal in mind: winning the culture war. But if we are not careful, we can get caught up in “the game” and be drained of all the salt and light Christ has given us to accomplish his purposes here on earth.

This cultural fight is nothing new. Think of the horrific genocide that took place in Israel when Jesus was born. “A cry was heard in Ramah . . . weeping and great mourning” (Matthew 2:18). Jesus grew up in a culture where there were no boys his age because they had all been slaughtered. He could have grown up with vengeance on his mind, thinking, “Herod will pay for what he did to all my Jewish brothers. One day I’ll bring him down!”

Instead, when Jesus was a young man of thirty, he set about proclaiming good news, healing the sick, performing miracles, even raising the dead. In short, he was about his Father’s business. He kept his focus! Even when the Pharisees told him that Herod Antipas wanted to kill him (see Luke 13:31), he told them to let the king know he was going to continue what he was doing. He knew Herod was a menace but he would not be distracted to do battle with him because he was intent on fulfilling his purpose to set every captive free!