Popularity and Truth – Consequences and Encouragement
Jesus never sought popularity. However, he did gain followers, seekers, people who wanted to hear him, and learn this new life giving teaching.
In Luke 12 1 “a crowd of many thousands“ gathered. Now most preachers or teachers would revel in this platform to preach the gospel and affect many all at once. So what was his reaction? He “began to speak first to his disciples”. And he talked to them about hypocrisy, and fear.
Jesus taught that what you do in private will be shown to the public. Your true self will be found out. It is a stern warning: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (Lk 12:2,3).
Then he talks about fear in the context of defending truth against the political and religious powerbrokers. He encourages them that even in physical death, their souls will live on in verse 4. And he says that when on trial: 11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Lk 12:12)
He warns them about getting to full of themselves and also warns them that if they speak the true gospel there will be consequences.
All of us have some following. It can be our wives or girlfriends, our children, our team at work, guys we go fishing with, or crowds of thousands. We all can have influence and wit can lead to getting puffed up and off track where we work or worry about our image, more than our true selves.
And all of us can become unpopular when preaching or living out the gospel. The gospel can rub people the wrong way – in our families, social, and work settings.
This is a good teaching that we need not fear because he is aware of us and knows us down to the last detail. We are not forgotten when we preach truth and face fear. In verse 7 Jesus states: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.