They Thought They Cancelled Jesus

Cancel culture is

nothing new

The term cancel culture may be new to our vocabulary but the idea of silencing voices of those we do not want to hear is ancient. Jeremiah lived around 600 B.C. and was once thrown in a nearly dry well. There was no water but he sank into thick mud and could not free himself. On another occasion he wrote a letter of warning to King Jehoiakim who cut the scroll with a knife, a few lines at a time as it was read, and threw God’s word into the fire. Many of the Old Testament prophets were ignored, mocked, exiled or killed.

In his final days with his disciples, Jesus told them plainly that he would be arrested and put to death. He told them they could expect persecution and that “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) The Jewish leaders thought their Jesus problem had come to an end when he hung on the cross and died. Reports of his resurrection aside they were surprised to find the Apostles preaching and doing miracles in his name as the early Christian church began to grow and spread. So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. (Acts 4:18, 21)

Cancel culture is nothing new but some things are harder to cancel than others. In Acts 5 Peter and some of the others were arrested again and his testimony enraged the high priest and the Pharisees. But one Pharisee, Gamaliel, offered wise council explaining that if their plans were of man they would come to nothing. If they were of God, however, they could not stop them. They (the Pharisees) might even be found opposing God. Take heart in those words of wisdom. It is not our church, it is his church. God’s kingdom is not one made by human hands. The world may ignore us, persecute us, they may even manage to kill some of us. Do not fear the one who can kill the body, but the one who divides bone from marrow and separates soul from spirit. The law of the land, kings of this world, not even Satan himself can cancel God.

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