Day 73: Supernatural Focus

John 8:48-56 : Then the Jews answered him, “Don’t we say well that you are a Samaritan, and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I don’t have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. But I don’t seek my own glory. There is one who seeks and judges. Most certainly, I tell you, if a person keeps my word, he will never see death.” Then the Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets; and you say, ‘If a man keeps my word, he will never taste of death.’ Are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God. You have not known him, but I know him. If I said, ‘I don’t know him,’ I would be like you, a liar. But I know him, and keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.”

It appears that, at this point, Jesus’ accusers pull out all of their best weapons. This time they accuse Him of being a Samaritan. I am guessing that they are expressing their disbelief in the virgin birth of Jesus. Perhaps they thought that since Joseph was not really His father, that Mary had been involved with someone who wasn’t even a full-blooded Jew from the state just south of Galilee. It appears that these people were willing to investigate Jesus enough to dig up dirt but not to find the truth. This is not uncommon today.

These people also accused Jesus of having a demon. They were saying that the only good person in the world was actually doing the things of Satan. Unfortunately, throughout the ages, people who believe in Jesus have been treated this way. Just this last winter, hundreds of Indians fled for their lives because they were Christians. These good people were being hunted down and treated like murderers because a certain group blamed the Christians for killing a religious leader.

The people made vicious accusations against Jesus. Instead of arguing, He made a simple statement. He merely stated that they were dishonoring Him. Then, He immediately went right to teaching. He said to them that they don’t have to be judged for their sins if they believe in Him. He kept His focus on what He wanted to do and say. He didn’t allow the crowd to control the direction in which He was going. He also didn’t loose his temper. This reminds me of a proverb:

Proverbs 19:11 : The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger. It is his glory to overlook an offense.

It is obvious that Jesus knew it was not wise to popularize or brag about himself. He knew these words from proverbs:

Proverbs 27:2 : Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

We also read today that Abraham knew that Jesus would come. Many prophets and kings would have liked the chance to see the day that the Messiah would come. Here’s what it says in Luke:

Luke 10:23,24 : Turning to the disciples, he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see the things which you see, and didn’t see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and didn’t hear them.”

Psychology: Jesus here was able to maintain focus on His duties in spite of the negative focus of His enemies. He shut out the bad by closing out the false accusations and held onto the good by maintaining a focus on His father. Modern psychologists observe that this is a healthy mental attitude. He was also able to maintain a focus on His own actions without expecting those around Him to change or succumbing to the line of thinking of His enemies. Instead, He took hold of their arguments and turned them around to be something constructive; something in which He could teach. You can find out more about the psychology of this in the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.