The crowd that followed kept shouting, "Away with him!"
Thoughts for Today:You will remember the other "radical," Jesus, who the crowd shouted the same, "Away with him!" Paul, like Jesus, preached a message of inward holiness and righteousness, rather than outward symbols of religiosity, which clearly angered a lot of people.
In Luke 10, Jesus explained to a teacher of the Law that it was not enough to merely love God -- we also need to love our neighbor as ourselves. Continuing in verse 29-37: "But he wanted to justify himself [speaking of the teacher], so he asked Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?' In reply Jesus said: 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. "Look after him," he said, "and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have." Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise.'"
Who was a neighbor to the injured man? Of course we know it was the one who had mercy on him -- which demonstrates an outward expression based on an inward love of God and all people. So what did the Jews do with this "radical" teaching by Jesus? Did they "Go and do likewise," as Jesus had instructed? Or did they reject Jesus the same way they are now rejecting Paul in our passage today, "Away with him!" In other words, if you don't like the message, then kill the messenger.
Questions to Ponder:What are the outward expressions of your inner focus? Is it to acquire more things? Advance your career? Retire before fifty? Buy your dream home? Or is it to love those in need -- with deeds not words? Does anything about your inward focus need to change?