4 Common Obstacles of Faith

I had a bunch of stuff written at the beginning of this post, but to be totally honest with you, it just didn’t fit. It was total fluff. So, if it sounds like I’m right in the middle of something, I kind of am. What you need to know is this….Jesus went to Lazarus’s house before going making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Some other cool stuff happened, then… …The next day comes and everybody is going into Jerusalem for the pre-Passover party. There’s a mini-revival going on a Lazarus’s house, more people hear about it and when Jesus gets his stuff to go into town, people start worshipping him. Hosannah! They cried, which is Hebrew for, Save, now! They were quoting Psalms 118:25-26.

Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

Palm Branches

Palm Branches (Photo credit: nattywoohoo)

They threw palm branches in his path to honor him. According to John Gill, these branches represented joy and victory and were worthy of a victorious king coming from battle. Men from Greece, not Jews, but Greeks it appears, seeing it all, pleaded to meet Jesus. And, in the midst of it all, I believe that John must have had a heart to heart with some of the big dogs. If not then, at some point later on, they opened up to the apostle. Years after everything happens and a bunch of people have died, in chapter 12 of his gospel account, John records verses 42 and 43:

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

He tells us that there were a pile of the chief rulers that believed on Jesus, presumably during all of this worship that was going on, but were afraid to tell anyone because of the Pharisees – the separated, judgmental, super-spiritual class of the very religious elite.The Pharisees were judgmental, controlling, overbearing and often hypocritical. They were well respected in society, but the greatest enemies the Lord had ever seen here on earth. They were zealous for their own religion and their own authority.

They were more territorial than even the worst North Korean dictator.

Putting all of this together, you know what I learned? People run into obstacles on their journey to meet Christ.

Mountain

Mountain (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Our entire life is fraught with obstacles and much of what our life is depends on how we conquer or give into those obstacles.

High walls over which to climb. Boulders to move. Lakes to swing across. Mountains to climb.

But before you read about those obstacles, I want you to know this:

No matter what obstacles you face, God’s love and His great power is greater.

In John 12, a bunch of the Saducees arrived at the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah, but got beaten back down by one or more of the four common obstacles of faith (credit Quesnel the French theologian with the italicized comments being mine).

  1. Too great a regard to men – In this case people they worked with. For you it could be your parents or a sports figure, movie star or any other famous person who makes you think, “If they believe like that, than I’d be an idiot to believe the Bible.”
  2. Riches and temporal advantages – Not many camels passing through the eyes of needles until this day. Rich people don’t normally think that they need anything, let alone Jesus.
  3. The fear of disgrace – This messed up the folks (…many of the chief rulers) that truly believed that Jesus was the Messiah. NO WAY they were going out on a limb like that just to be kicked out of the synagogue. The Pharisees would do it too. That’s why it’s such a big deal in Hebrews 11 when we hear that Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater than anything else he could have. 
  4. The love of the praise of men – Power corrupts. Plain and simple. They liked their positions. They liked who people thought they were. The notoriety and pats on the back were and continue to be very important for so many today. So important that day that it kept more than a few from heaven. 

None of them are worth living miserably with no peace, while bearing the overly heavy burden of condemnation. Let me say this in closing for you to meditate on. Just before Jesus was crucified, many of the chief rulers were brought to Christ by Lazarus, but kept away by the Pharisees. Which one are you? A Lazarus or a Pharisee?

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