June 14 I Monday
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” —Matthew 23:12
The third test Jesus encountered was His attitude towards His reputation. Luke 4:9-11 tells us, “The devil led [Jesus] to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If You are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: He will command His angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” The temptation of the devil was saying, “If You’re the Son of God, how come nobody knows? Jump off the temple and Your Father will send angels to catch and land You gently on the ground. Then the news will go around Jerusalem like wildfire and You’ll get yourself a reputation!” Jesus’s attitude towards His reputation was tested and He showed no interest in it.
The reality is that we cannot help but have a reputation. We all have a reputation, but heed this warning: do not take any interest in our reputation, because a reputation can become a ball and chain around our ankle. Once we try to create a reputation, we are going to have to live up to our reputation. Once we have to live up to our reputation, we start to live under the pressure of other people’s opinions about us. Once we begin to live under the pressure of other people’s opinions about us, we go down the road of hypocrisy. Jesus talked about the hypocrites in Matthew 6:5: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.” Hypocrites do things to be seen by others. What is their motivation? Their reputation.
Jesus actually had a bad reputation amongst many of the people. They said Jesus was a drunkard and a glutton, and He ate with the sinners and tax collectors. But Jesus did not care. It is liberating to not worry about our reputation. Paul tells us, “[Jesus] made Himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:7, NKJV).
God the Father tested the Son in His attitude towards His reputation, because the Father knew the day would come when His Son would hang on a cross. The crowd would say to Jesus, “Come down from the cross, if You are the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:40). Jesus did not respond, “I’ll show you all who I am” and come down from the cross. Instead, Jesus uttered these words, “Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23:34). Rather than protecting His reputation, Jesus chose to forgive.
How do we see our own reputation?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the example of what it means to make Yourself of no reputation. Help me not to get caught up on what others think of me, but live solely for Your purpose. Praise You!