Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's hard to focus on what is important with this big stick coming out of my eye

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5:7

Weston sent me some thoughts on this last night. 

The Pharisees were furious.  Jesus had just healed a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. Hopeless and helpless, he had lain by the Pool of Bethesda, waiting.  And Jesus healed him at once, and he picked up his bed and walked.  On the Sabbath.  

So rather than celebrating this grand manifestation of God among man, these folks wanted to kill Jesus, not only because he was a lawbreaker but because He was making Himself equal with God. 

And yet Jesus extended mercy, sort of.  But not really.  He promised to not accuse them before the Father on the Day of Judgement.  Rather He would allow them the same mercy they extend to others; they would be judged by Moses and the Law.  This was a perfect sermon illustration of His teaching: Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. It sounds like the full weight of the Law will be on their head, and really the whole point of Jesus’ coming is that no one can possibly bear up under that hopeless and helpless weight.

And sometimes I get distracted in my heart by what seems to me to be other folks still clinging to the Law when Jesus not only fulfilled the Law but He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. Colossians and Romans are pretty clear: God nailed the law to the cross and it is dead.  Those do not handle, do not touch, do not handle people have an appearance of wisdom in promoting a self-made religion and asceticism but they are of no value. And it grieves me when they impose this wisdom of law on others when they can’t even keep it themselves.  And march around with signs that talk about Who God Hates and Who Is To Blame. But really, really, that is their Day of Judgement.  And if Jesus won’t accuse them for rejecting His sacrifice, calling it insufficient, then who am I? 

The one with a stave sticking out of her own eye. 

Be merciful.  And you shall receive mercy.