Part 3 of “For we cannot but SPEAK
Read Part 1: SPEAK NOW

“They hate him that REBUKETH in the gate,

and they abhor him that SPEAKETH uprightly.”

(Amos 5:10) 
The whole point of what is now called “Cancel Culture” is to shut down (“cancel”) those who speak out TRUTH, FACT, or put forth actual hard SCIENCE or documentable DATA. We know the source of this suppression – the “father of LIES” (John 8:44) who works ceaselessly to STOP the SPEAKING of the GOSPEL. He will attempt to STIFLE any method or media we use to communicate the BIBLE. 
As Christians we are called to TEACH the GOSPEL despite any opposition or affliction. In so doing we follow in the honorable footsteps of the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament apostles, and Jesus Christ Himself. 
What follows is a unique perspective on the battle for and against the TRUTH as seen in an overview of the life of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. In order to convey the sense of these passages we will creatively employ words, terms and phrases used in current “Cancel Culture” vernacular. It is our hope that this unique perspective will encourage us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). 
“And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying,

‘This Man receiveth sinners,
and eateth with them.’”

(Luke 15:2)
Opposition to His TRUTH 
Throughout His earthly ministry PREACHING TRUTH, Jesus Christ of Nazareth would be relentlessly opposed by the chief priests, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and others in the Religious Establishment. The Religious Elites had an investment in maintaining the status quo. Their self-serving goal in collaborating with the Roman Empire was to maintain an equilibrium, pacify the people, rope everyone into compliance, and enforce both civil and religious mandates. Preserving their high status as Big Church Leaders came with lucrative and tangible rewards. To attain this exclusive position they had to adopt perennial victimhood status, kowtowing to the Romans while cutting deals to preserve their pitiful power base. 
Through it all these Religious Establishment Elites maintained the outward appearance of the old Mosaic LAW. This preserved the respectability of their nation-state. Their version of the Law was appended with onerous requirements to stringently regulate the minutiae of people’s conduct in their daily lives. These Leaders operated not as shepherds but as Bullies, wielding their own Cancel Culture and penalizing those who didn’t obey their hyper-religious social mores. Everyone was forced to walk their narrow tight rope of legalism. 
The moment He stepped into ministry Jesus of Nazareth became an irritant to this Establishment’s status quo. He lived within the confines of this culture, but only to a point (e.g., Matthew 17:27). Jesus boldly exercised FREE SPEECH. Jesus’s TEACHING, and the way He FREELY lived His life in obedience to God constantly ran afoul of the Rulers. Jesus SPOKE with authority. He said things that were the TRUTH but enraged the Leaders. He WARNED specifically about their perverse leadership. He said to “beware” of the scribes (Mark 23:38), and the “leaven of the Pharisees [the Church], and the leaven of Herod [the State]” (Mark 8:15). He REBUKED their hypocrisy (e.g., Luke 12:1, even calling leaders out as serpents and vipers (Matthew 23). He repeatedly TOLD people to “take heed” and not be deceived by them (Luke 17:3; 21:8, 34; Matt. 16:6; 24:4; etc.). 
Thus Jesus did not endear Himself to the Cancel Culture, suck up to them, or get in their good graces (see, for example: Matt:21-12; Mark 11:15; John 2:15). 
While Jesus ministered to the people, the Religious Elites murmured on the sidelines, chafing at this lowly carpenter’s SPOKEN WORDS. Time and again the Scribes and Pharisees attempted to entrap Him with their carefully planned, devious questions. It never worked. Jesus’s TRUTHFUL replies skirted their traps, publicly humiliating them. 
“And the common people heard Him gladly.”

(Mark 12:37b) 
WORD of mouth, the old-fashioned Social Media platform, spread news of Jesus’s whereabouts as He traveled from village to village. The Religious Establishment’s power base was particularly threatened when huge crowds, up to 5000 at a time, raptly followed Jesus. Jesus was not only TEACHING the TRUTH to large groups of people but feeding and healing them. The results of Jesus’s ministry to the common people were not only spiritual but visible, physical, tangible, factual, documentable, and readily evident. Thousands of people became eyewitnesses to His miracles. 
It was Jesus’s healings that totally flummoxed the Religious Establishment. It was undeniably TRUE that people were being miraculously healed. So how could the Power Elites develop a FALSE NARRATIVE against such FACTUAL episodes? 
John 9 recounts how Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth. The maddened Pharisees didn’t dare attack Jesus directly – He was too popular with the masses. Instead they interrogated the newly-healed man. This brave man foiled them by repeatedly affirming the same TRUE story. Not content to stop there, the enraged leaders then launched an investigation into his family, interrogating his parents. Perhaps they hoped his parents would LIE. His parents answered honestly that, yes, indeed, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind,” but then asserted they had no clue as to how it happened that he was suddenly sighted. When pressed further, in apparent exasperation, the badgered parents blurted out, “He is of age; ask him: he shall SPEAK for himself.” 
John’s Gospel recounts the Cancel Culture’s fear tactics – there was active suppression of the TRUTH going on. It seems the Religious Establishment had put into effect punitive measures for damage control – the dreaded excommunication for anyone who CONFESSED Jesus was the Christ. John explains what was going on behind the scenes: “These words SPAKE his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did CONFESS that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.” (John 9:22-23). This man’s parents did not CONFESS that Jesus was the Christ. We aren’t told if they were scared of retribution, social ostracizing, and shunning; but we do know they passed the buck back to their healed son, who was the firsthand EYEWITNESS to the miracle in real time. 
There was plenty of concern in the Upper Echelons about Jesus’s rising popularity amongst the countryside’s riffraff. Common peasants, working class fishermen, prostitutes, criminals, Gentiles, ethnic minorities, lepers, diseased, disabled, deplorables, misfits and contemptibles were getting their faith FACTS from a different SOURCE – Jesus Christ Himself. Their Authority was no longer the Micromanagement Experts who surveilled their every move to catch them in a legalistic flaw. These ordinary people were hungry for TRUTH. They desired to repent of their sins and to be cleansed. They were eager to hear the PREACHING of the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. They switched over their loyalties to Jesus. He showed them THE WAY. 
Under the Roman regime one of the Religious Establishment’s duties in Palestine was crowd control, keeping the people pacified by putting a lid on any potential rebellions for which their country was notorious. John records their panic about Jesus: “If we let Him thus alone, all men will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” (John 11:47-53). Underscoring this fear, notice that a few weeks later, after the Resurrection of Jesus, when John and Peter were being threatened by the Authorities who “took counsel to slay them,” Gamaliel stood up in the Council and reminded the Council of previous insurrections (Acts 5:33-42). These Leaders obviously didn’t want another embarrassing political-religious incident. 
And then Palm Sunday happened. John records that much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried, ‘Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.(John 12:12-13). The Jesus Movement was out of the Elite’s control! A REAL revival was going on! The crowds were amassing!
Immediately after this wildly popular entry, Luke’s Gospel (19:45-48) tells us that Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought…. And He TAUGHT daily in the temple. Jesus’s WORDS and His DEEDS now posed a direct challenge to the crumbling Power Base of the Big Bullies!
Something needed to be done! The Leaders had to SHUT Jesus down. They must SUPPRESS His TRUTH. In a high-level meeting they hatched a dastardly plot – they’d terminally CANCEL His VOICE. Deplatform Him permanently – Luke records that “the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to DESTROY Him. And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to HEAR Him.”  
They decided to charge Him with crimes so heinous that He would face the death penalty. But the Religious Establishment was limited by a stringent Legal Code, dating back to Moses, requiring evidentiary testimony from more than one eyewitness. Moses’s LAW was just; it granted rights to those who were accused. This absolute LAW stood as a bulwark against tyranny. Or so it should have – but lawlessness was raging in the land. 
So they seized on a plot so EVIL that it would destroy not only the Leader but His entire Movement…. or so they hoped….
“Smite the Shepherd,
and the sheep shall be scattered”

(Zecharaiah 13:7)


To Be Continued This Week….