How Did Jesus Deal With Prejudice?

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known. Mark 3:11-12

Many people, even in our own ranks, accuse Seventh-day Adventists of being dishonest, when we cover up our church sign when holding evangelistic meetings. Often we drape a makeshift sign over the name “Seventh-day Adventist” with the speakers name, or the theme of the meetings. Maybe we start the meetings in a neutral meeting hall, and announce later, after a few meetings that we are Seventh-day Adventists. Why be so secretive? I have heard people say, “I am not ashamed to be an Adventist so why do I need to hide it?”

Well Jesus was not ashamed to be the Son of God, but He still told the demons to be quiet when they announced it to the world. You see, for four thousand years, Satan had been telling humanity all kinds of lies about God and His character. Satan had even worked through un-Godlike priests and teachers to make God look stern, unforgiving and tyrant like. Jesus came with humanity draped over His divinity, to give people a chance to get to know Him first, before He revealed Himself to humanity as the Son of God. Thanks to Satan, there was too much prejudice against Him to just come right and say He was God, from the very beginning. People would have never given Him a chance with all their preconceived ideas about God. With humanity draped over His divinity, like a makeshift sign draped over a church sign, Jesus let the people find out how warm, caring and compassionate He was, and then once He had their confidence, He could let them know He was God.

Satan also told many lies about God’s remnant church. Many think we are a cult, or legalistic, so while being careful not to lie, some evangelists like to reveal that they are Adventists, after being given time to show that the Adventist church is a Bible based, Christian, compassionate church. It has nothing to do with being ashamed or deceptive. It is the same principle Jesus used when telling the demons not to tell who He was.

Of course as we spend more effort reaching out to un-churched people, we find less prejudice. After all, it was mostly “religious” people who were prejudiced against Jesus. It is often other denominations that are prejudice against Adventists, but not so much the un-churched community. I understand the principles of evangelists, who do not like to announce upfront that they are Adventists. However, if asked directly what denomination I am, I do not stutter or stammer. I say proudly I am a Seventh-day Adventist. I then assure them that we are Christian Bible based believers. I tell them, we believe Jesus is our only hope of salvation and our only example, therefore we go to church on the Bible Sabbath just like Jesus. Just like the woman at the well was receptive, when Jesus revealed Himself to her, I find many un-churched people receptive when I reveal our Bible based and Jesus centered beliefs.

While Jesus told the demons not to announce to the whole world who He was, He used wisdom in deciding when and to whom to reveal Himself. I do not always know who is prejudiced and who is not, so I pray for God to give me wisdom and the right words to say to each individual.

To study this week’s SS lesson on evangelism, click here. To download the Sabbath School app click here.

Mark 3-4; Dealing With Prejudice

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.  Mark 3:11-12

Some people say Seventh-day Adventists are deceitful when we hold meetings and do not make it known right away that we are Adventist. In reality we are only doing what Jesus was doing, and that is, removing the prejudice before saying who we are. Satan had told the human race that God was mean and harsh. So if Jesus had come and immediately said He was the Son of God, nobody would have given Him a chance. He silenced the demons, even though they were speaking truth, because the people needed to get to know Him without the prejudice, before He made it known who He was. Today, because of the lies about Adventists, we sometimes need to remove the prejudices before we make ourselves known.

In Mark 4 Jesus talks about the sower and the seed. Sometimes people receive the Word and get all excited about following Jesus, but when trials come they leave God. Could it be the seed was not sown deep enough? It takes time to develop deep roots. Do sometimes rush people into baptism only to find out later that we should have taken more time? Do we spend time building relationships or just through facts at people and expect them to get baptized? Are we geared towards relationships, or just telling people we’re right you’re wrong. That won’t get you anywhere. Jesus was always right, but He was also relational. He spent time with prostitutes and publicans, many of which did not get baptized until several years afterwards. Are we willing to wait that long or do we need them to get baptized right away for some reason? I think Jesus’ way is best.