Seek the Kingdom of God, says Jesus. But speaking about this we often hear in sermons and Bible commentaries that we should live in the freedom of God’s children, etc.
But in reality, it is difficult to understand where the line is drawn when the freedom of God’s children ends and turns into mere stupidity.
People even create theories and ideologies that blatantly contradict God’s Word, claiming that this is the freedom of God’s children and that we have to break out of the box and break the stereotypes.
It is always disturbing when ideology takes the place of God in people’s minds.
Devotional for Today, January 14
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (full text at Mark 2:23-28)
It seems that even today, in the daily devotional, the Bible passage from the Gospel of Mark portrays Jesus as a revolutionary and a stereotype-breaker.
But this is certainly not the case.
Jesus is the Preacher of Truth
Yes, everybody observed what Jesus doing. Israel’s religious and political leaders and their followers hated Jesus. Because their thinking was full of ideology.
Jesus taught what the right relationship with God is. Jesus was showing where the Pharisees and scribes were wrong.
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Jesus’ teachings often contradicted the man-made rules and traditions that the religious leaders taught.
Jesus’ opponents thought they were defending God and the faith. But the truth is that they were only defending their authority and power.
That is why they hated Jesus, because as the Son of God, He saw their false teaching clearly.
Know the Goal and the Means
Teaching about the meaning of the Sabbath is one such example. To honor God, the Sabbath is to be kept holy and free from work.
We should understand here that Sabbath rest, as a gift from God, is not the goal, but is only the means. But over the centuries, this zeal transcends and the Sabbath becomes the goal.
Reading this story, it seems that the Sabbath rules are more important to some people than God Himself.
In other words, the rule becomes an idol and takes the place of God.
Therefore, Jesus is not some naive and rebellious activist in this situation. He is a teacher. And He clearly shows the error of the religious teachers of Israel.
But those religious authorities take the criticism as an insult. They are angry that someone would dare to question their infallibility. And finally, they wrap it all up in a package of demagoguery – whoever questions our authority automatically questions God Himself.
It is foolish and painful that this position is still common today, in the 21st century, 2000 years after the Pharisees.
The Goal – Seek the Kingdom of God
Therefore, once again, to understand Jesus’ position correctly, Jesus is not a preacher of chaos and disorder.
He always kept the Sabbath. But Jesus made it clear that it is a means, not the goal itself.
The Kingdom of God is the goal. “Seek the Kingdom of God”, says Jesus. (Matthew 6:33)
And the means must be for the good of the people.
On Sunday, we rest from all work. Instead of work, we spend time with God and our family.
And we need to understand that Sunday is an instrument that serves us, that helps us to be happier.
Prayer for Today
Almighty God, You are the master of time and space. You take time to be with us, to accompany us on the journey of life. Today, help us to understand how important and precious the time of life is. Help us to learn how to plan our time in the right way, so that it is not only for the goals of this world but also for eternity, for Your honor, and for the love of our neighbor. Amen.
Also read: Devotional for January 13