Paul wrote in Romans 16:17 pleading with the people of the church to
“…mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
In Jesus’ ministry we find the circumstances and results born from these divisive activities. We should be clear, every act of religion is guided and dictated by man to promote the organization, not the one true God who alone is worthy of our worship. Jesus knew this. In John 10:19-21, Jesus is feeling the pressure of murmuring and backbiting, religious leaders loosing their grip on the people, the elite ruler class is challenged to be compassionate, to see God as a loving God with laws, but laws that have a spiritual application as well as practical living purposes.
These leaders used a feigned piety to try to rally the Jews against Jesus. Beginning at the end of John 8 where they took up stones against Him until now the Scribes, Pharisees and other officials following Jesus were doing their best to discredit Him. They somewhat succeed when many take up stones against Him in Chapter 8. However, though all the pious follow their earthly leaders, the people looking beyond them for hope in Yahweh and His salvation see Jesus’ compassion, through miracles and selflessness.
The people who are affected most by the oppression of religious leaders, politicians and others see something wholly different in Christ. Christ represents hope. Christ represents redemption. Christ represents compassion. Christ represents integrity. Christ represents the character qualities people inherently know are godly, character qualities they know are lacking in those taking up stones, murmuring and cat-calling names. They are marked by their divisiveness, by their pride, by their hubris, by their hate, by their demanding and prideful approach to ministry (Lk 18:11).
Divisions and murmuring develop from personal spiritual challenges. Leaders and others in positions of authority or influence have a spirit of dominance that they want to perpetrate. What the believer in Christ knows is the truth that He is the authority, He should be the influence, He is the only one worthy of devotion and faith.
Rest in Jesus, don’t take up stones against Him. See His compassion, His vicarious sacrifice, His salvation for you. Rest in those truths and do not follow the sour spirits of fear, hate and maliciousness. Jesus is love and light. (1 Jn 1:5, 4:16)