The realm of God's best
So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God. So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. (John 5:16-20)
Criticism will come from all areas in our lives, but when those who should know better than to criticize us do it, it hurts and might even get us a little upset. Jesus has just healed a lame man, doing countless other miracles we may not even know about, and the religious leaders begin to harass him for 'breaking the Sabbath rules'. If you are anything like me, you have broken more than a few 'rules' in your day. The rule needs to make sense in light of the need that exists. For example, speed limits keep us safer on roadways, but does the rule to 'have your trash can out on the curb by 0500' make sense if the truck consistently doesn't come before 0700? As long as the can is there, the trash is picked up, I don't always follow that 'rule'. Was healing the lame man on the Sabbath a 'breaking of the Sabbath'? As Jesus says, we don't limit when God will move in a person's life - we go with it and see the wonderful things he will do when he does!
The leaders set out on a mission to consistently intimidate Jesus with their threats and accusations. In turn, he sets out to consistently be about his Father's work, regardless of the day of the week! When we operate in the realm of God's best, we aren't going to be intimidated by the accusations of those who don't grasp what God is doing. Jesus' response to them says it all: "I am doing only what I see my Father doing." What would happen if we were to be so 'engaged' with God's plan that we were guilty of doing only what we see the Father doing? I think this world would be 'lit up' with the glory and majesty of God! The truth of the matter is that we have to be close enough to the Father that we can actually see what he is doing, and this is where we find ourselves struggling sometimes. We just aren't all that 'close' to him - drifting hither and yon without really knowing that our gaze has shifted.
The threats of our enemy will abound - sometimes using those around us that we might desire to receive encouragement from instead of their threats and accusations. I don't know how Jesus always dealt with the accusing eye and flapping tongues of these 'resisters of the faith', but he did. I do know that the Holy Spirit within can help us look beyond their tongue flapping and hurtful words to see that their hearts aren't in the right place at the moment. When we realize that, we can look beyond their words and hurtful actions and model the actions God desires to have displayed to the world. Will they understand our boldness? Not likely, but they cannot really 'resist' such a faith. In the realm of 'God's best', we won't succumb to their intimidation because God's presence is always with us, and he is about to bust open the gates of heaven right before their eyes. Just sayin!