Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Bullying is Not New!

Psalm 22:12 Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.

Dictionary dot com, the online dictionary, defines bullying as “a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.”  Our school children were not the first people to be bullied.  Bullying was used by the rulers of the Jews to try to intimidate the Lord during His ministry.  While the Lord appeared weak, He was not.  While he appeared to be one who was just a carpenter, the son of a carpenter and from the despised city of Nazareth, in fact He was and is the Son of God and He came from heaven and went back to heaven.   We know that this is not just a problem of the young.  All of us have seen adults bully people that they want to control and intimidate as well. 

In the final week of the Lord’s ministry, he made His triumphal entry in Jerusalem, offering Himself as King to the Jews.  Afterwards he cried over the city, knowing that He was going to be rejected and that destruction was coming because of it.  Then he cleansed the temple of those who were making a business of religion by selling animals needed in the temple worship.  They were also changing Roman money to Jewish money so that the temple taxes could be paid.  All of this was apparently being done at a nice profit.   Thus, in cleansing the temple, the Lord was hurting the pocket books of those who were using the temple and the temple worship for personal gain. 

As we go into chapter 20, we find that those who thought they were in authority confronted the Lord. They said in verse 2  “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”   In reality they are saying, “Who do you think you are!  What right do you have to disrupt the business that was being done in the temple?”  And by their questions and demeanor, the threat that He would pay for what he had done was implied.  Of course He did pay by being hung on a Roman cross where again the bulls mocked Him.  In mocking Him, they were making sure He understood who was boss.  However, they didn’t really know who was boss!

The Lord used a question to prove to them that they got their authority from the people even though they were not democratically elected.  When he asked them whether John the Baptist got his authority from God or man they couldn’t answer.  John was the Lord’s herald, going before the Lord and pointing Him out as the Messiah. If they recognized John’s authority as God given, then they were doing wrong by questioning the Lord’s authority.  If they didn’t publicly accept John as a prophet, then they would have lost their influence with the Jewish people.  So they were getting their authority from the Romans who ultimately expected them to control the people.  They couldn’t do this if they rejected John the Baptist.  So they didn’t answer the Lord proving that their authority ultimately came from the people.  However, the Lord’s authority came from the Father Himself who could say, “You are my beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased (Luke 3:22).”

The Lord humbled Himself, He was gracious and merciful.  When He was reviled, He reviled not again.  He was always the gentlemen.  He spoke with authority when rebuking hypocrisy and when explaining the consequences of not accepting Him.  But He never intimidated people that He considered weaker than Himself.  He never bullied and neither should we.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of November 3 2013

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