Friday, June 07, 2013

When doing nothing is doing something

"Jesus converses with the doctors of the law"
 - Alexandre Bida

Jesus converses with the doctors of the law - Alexandre Bida
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 7:24-35

TO CHEW ON:
"And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him." - Luke 7:29-30

There are moments of decision, crossroads where we must choose one direction or another. John the Baptist was one of the people who confronted his listeners with their path options. His message was repentance. The graphic way people showed they chose this repentance road was to submit to John's baptism.

After John's disciples asked Jesus John's question ("Are You the Coming One?" - yesterdays reading), Jesus explained John to the people (Luke 7:24-28). And then the writer Luke adds his author observations about what was going on here (Luke 7:29,30). Here's how the Amplified Bible puts it:

"And all the people who heard Him (Jesus), even the tax collectors acknowledged the justice of God [in calling them to repentance and pronouncing future wrath on the impenitent] being baptized with the baptism of John" - Luke 7:29 Amplified Bible.

However, two groups of people—the Pharisees and lawyers—steeled their hearts against this truth. How did they show their resistance? Apparently by doing nothing. Luke again:

"But the Pharisees and the lawyers [of the Mosaic Law] annulled and rejected and brought to nothing God's purpose concerning themselves, by [refusing and] not being baptized by [John]." - Luke 7:30 Amplified Bible (emphasis added). 

Jesus goes on to describe them as utterly resistant to wisdom (Luke 7:31-35). My Bible's commenter says it well:

"Jesus illustrates the fickle and even caustic response of the people to John's ministry and to His own. Unbelief will not respond to the truth, however well it is presented and demonstrated" - J. Lyle Story, commentary on Matthew 11:16-19, New Spirit-Filled Bible, p. 1310 (emphasis added).

There is a subtle warning in this for us. For we too can choose one way over another by doing nothing—by refusing to respond to the Holy Spirit's tug on our consciences, by resisting His invitation to change direction. How sobering to think that it could be said of me or you: "She / he annulled, rejected, brought to nothing God's purpose concerning themselves by refusing …"

PRAYER:
Dear God, please help me understand the danger of passivity. I want to have a heart that is sensitive to You and quick to respond. Amen.

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The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
Amplified Bible (AMP)Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation - Used with permission.

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