Monday, March 7, 2016

Daily Devotional: March 7


Week Seven, Day One, The Gospel according to Mark, Chapter Three

In Mark three, Jesus is continuing His ministry at a furious pace. Not pausing for the Sabbath has made some of the religious elite upset, but not as upset as Jesus' justification for it which pointed at their hypocrisy. The religious elite, certain of their righteousness, accused Jesus of performing miracles using the power of Satan. 

Then He will plunder his house

How many times does our spiritual arrogance cause us to judge a different interpretation or stream of faith to be bankrupt or lacking or even evil? Certainty is the enemy of spiritual growth. You can't grow in faith if you are content with your faith, or if you think you have it figured out. 

In Mark three we see the groundwork for one of the earliest theological thoughts of what came to be known as Christianity. Jesus makes a remark while defending Himself from the accusations of the Pharisees, saying He isn't working under the power of the devil, and that "no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house."

This remark came to be the bedrock of something called "Christus Victor" theology which many believe to be the earliest doctrine of atonement of the early Church. Christ's Incarnation, death, and resurrection was the binding of the strong man. This was God method of gaining victory over the forces that held humanity enslaved to death. Instead of a view of a God who is angry and thirsty for blood to satisfy His rage, we see a God who is desperate enough for people who He loves to risk death to rescue them. 

Then He will plunder his house

Jesus didn't come to heal a few sick people, He came to end sickness. He came to conquer death, so we don't have to experience it anymore. Jesus didn't sneak out of heaven to try to get us to repent so God would stop being angry with us. Jesus is what God is saying to us. He loves us, and has rescued us. 

Any act that brings more happiness, joy, health, or love to the world is an act of plundering the strong man's house. In this view, the forces of the world have already been defeated, and Christ is already victorious over them. We are now to continue His robbery of Satan by spreading love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in this world. 

Then He will plunder his house

Don't wait for a future victory. It has already happened. Be urgent in your actions today, bringing about forgiveness and mercy, love and hope, peace and kindness everywhere, to everyone, all the time. 

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