Murderous Decent: Sunday Rewind

perception

Ever wonder how to become a murderer? Probably not, because no one ever sets out to be one. Rather, it is a slow unintentional murderous descent. While we may not have recognized it, last week we saw the beginnings of this descent as Mark showed the Pharisee point of view.

The Mirror

As they stood in judgment over Jesus, Mark demonstrates the progression of their hatred. Last week we saw them progresses from inner anger to persuading others and to sending others to confront Jesus. Now we see the continued descent in their personal confrontation, setting traps, and finally plotting Jesus’ demise. The evidence is clear; whether it is murder or any sin it doesn’t occur overnight. (James 1:14-15 & Genesis 4:3-8)

What leads them to participate in such a hideous sin? According to chapter 3, verse 5, it is their hardness of hearts. In each encounter the religious leaders have with Christ they refuse to repent. Instead with each confrontation, throughout 2:1-3:6, the Pharisees add a new hardened layer to their hearts. To the point that they partner with the political movement that would be no better than the one they condemned in the account of Levi. (Mark 2:13-17)

The hearts of the Pharisees’ then serve as a mirror, and a warning for you and I. God’s word tells us that we are born enemies of God. So whether you are “Religous” or Irreligious you are prone to oppose the things of God and harden your heart to his truth. Thus we must continually see our sin and repent of our false motives and practices.

The Model

The thing that we must realize is that Jesus is setting an example for his disciples. Later Christ tells the disciples they too will encounter persecution. So, when opposition comes to them, they can look to the model of Christ life.

Jesus example is threefold. First, he responds with anger over the sin against God and hatred of his people. This response makes many uncomfortable, yet it will not be the last time we see the wrath of Christ against sin. (Mark 11:15-18) This attitude of Christ is against sin! 2Corinthians would tell us we should have this same attitude against our sin. (2 Corinthians 7:10-11) So how do we prevent our anger from being sinful? It must mix with Christ’s second response.

Christ grieved over the status of their hearts. Grief over the separation of the people from the kingdom of God was a necessary quality. When was the last time you grieved over the hardness of those that oppress you? If you had been, you would have taken the time to pray for the souls of your enemies, rather than gossip and dwell in bitterness. Grief over their state before a God should be the model we follow.

But that is not all. Jesus didn’t see the opposition as an opportunity to escape faithfulness but continued in devotion to his mission of expanding the kingdom of God. He didn’t do so because of a lack of concern, rather out of his deepest empathy. While there were some that refused to worship the work of God in Christ, before him stood a man in need of restoration.

The Decision

As Jesus gazed at the Pharisee’s he asked them for a response, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” Though they didn’t understand, he asked them to decide whether they would value God’s salvation or kill.

Silence was their answer, but it was not a non-answer. Rather their silence was a decision to kill over accept the salvation Christ offers through repentance and faith. Thus they left his presence and planned for his death.

Jesus stands before you and says will you pursue your way or will you choose his salvation. For some that may mean will you continue to trust in empty religious practice without affection for the Son of God? For others that may mean, will you continue to live life for your kingdom or find your restoration in Christ? What’s your response?

Then we must determine how we will respond to others. Will we allow our self-interest to prevent us from seeing the kindness God can do through us for others? Will we get up and join Christ in his desire to bring all kinds of people into the kingdom of God or sit in our self-righteousness?

Now it is time for you to decide!

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