“…I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”
(John 18:20-21 ESV)
These words were spoken by Jesus as he was questioned by the high priest, following his arrest. He was asked about his disciples and his teaching. And the thing that stands out in his response is that his teaching was common knowledge.
Jesus told the high priest that there was no reason to question him regarding his teaching. He was very open as he taught. He had hidden nothing. And, for this reason, everyone knew what he’d said.
As I read these words, I asked myself if I could make the same statement. If I were arrested and questioned regarding my teaching, could I also claim that it’s common knowledge? Do I refrain from hiding any of it from certain people?
I believe this is a legitimate question to ask ourselves. I believe this because we have a desire to be liked by those around us. We have a desire to appeal to others. We have the desire to have the biggest church with the biggest attendance. These desires flow from our sinful nature, but they are a part of us nonetheless.
For this reason, it’s easy for us to be less than open about our beliefs and practices. This is common among some TV evangelists and teachers. They avoid issues that might be considered touchy or controversial. They avoid talking about those things that might affect their popularity or their ratings.
We know that some of the statements of Scripture make people uncomfortable. They make us uncomfortable. And, for this reason, we find it best to avoid these subjects. We believe that we’ll be more successful in leading people to faith if we keep some of these things to ourselves.
However, if we are truly seeking to make disciples of Jesus, we must hide nothing. We must make disciples, teaching them to observe all that Christ commanded us (Matthew 28:19-20). Even though it may cause some to hate us, even though it may lead to our rejection by some, we must not fear for ourselves. We must be more interested in the eternal welfare of the lost than in our own comfort.