Tuesday 9th July 2019 - Daily Reading:
Matthew 12:22-50 Conflict: Part 2 - by Becky Brooks

Three more conflict situations are outlined in this second part of the chapter. Having failed to make any headway criticising Jesusí religious credentials, the Pharisees move on to personal insults, accusing Jesus of getting his powers from the devil.

Next, they asked him for a sign. Now, Jesus had performed many miracles, which the Pharisees had claimed were done by the devilís power. A sign is something different. They were demanding a specific kind of miracle Ė a sign that something prophesied was about to happen. God had given signs before to strengthen the faith of believers, but Jesus refused because he knew the Pharisees didnít want their faith strengthened: they wanted to trap him.

The final conflict was quite different Ė more subtle and closer to home. Jesusí mother and brothers were waiting outside and wanted him to come so that they could speak to him. Jesusí words were not intended to belittle his family, but to emphasise the priority that he gave to doing Godís will.

When a person is following Godís will wholeheartedly, opposition and conflict will come. It may be open hostility from those who are determined to challenge us, or a series of distractions from people who mean us no harm. Either way, the answer is to remain committed to God and focused on his will. It is not always possible to avoid conflict, but it is always possible to be honourable and righteous in the face of it.

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