Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Daily Devotional: February 9

Week 3, Day 2, The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 12

The Pharisees get a really bad rap. It always amuses me how many pastors and writers will paint the Pharisees as this evil group of men who hated Jesus' message of love and forgiveness. What they miss is how similar they are, how similar I am, to the Pharisees. How hung up do we get about the way other people experience God?

How big is your God-box?

The Pharisees were a group of religious teachers in the first century. They basically made sure everyone was following the rules as they interpreted them. Imagine if there was someone who told you the way you had to experience God's presence. Imagine thinking you had the right to tell someone they were doing "faith" incorrectly. Don't we do that all the time? Aren't all of us guilty at one time or another of thinking we have it figured out? Denominations, sects, religious orders all exist because people can't agree on what rules to follow and how to follow them.

How big is your God -box?

Jesus confronts the idea of rule-following for the sake of the rules. He does this throughout His ministry. There is no reason to go through the motions of faith. Jesus consistently affirms that people are more important than rules or theory. If your church has great theology and amazing worship and a pastor that has it all together, but the community it is in is suffering in inequality, disunity, and poverty, then Jesus doesn't care what your church thinks about atonement.  Likewise, if you are quick to judge what another faith community is doing because they disagree with your theories about how to best do religion, you're missing the point of Jesus. 

How big is your God-box?

When Jesus heals the man with the withered hand, the Pharisees were blown away. They had to come up with the idea that Christ was using demonic powers to heal people because their God-box didn't allow for healing to happen on the Sabbath. Their religious rules were getting in the way of God. The Bible is a story of people having their minds blown by God over and over again. God's nature is revealed progressively through the entirety of Scripture until He decided to put on skin and show Himself to everyone. 

Take solace in not having all the answers today. Spend some time thanking God for His bigness and other-ness, and also for His nearness. 

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.