Todays readings… 1 Kings 2, Jeremiah 29, Mark 3
We all want to do the will of God, don’t we? The Bible is full of examples of those who claim to do the will of God, but who fail to grasp what the will of God really is! Some deceive themselves into thinking that what they say and do is in harmony with the ways of God – and is therefore his will.
The principle we need to follow is plain – to read God’s word regularly and do so with a totally honest God-fearing heart, so that we do not twist its’ meaning to suit our own desires.
What we read today in Mark ch. 3 shows that many of the Jews, especially the religious leaders were obsessed with keeping the Sabbath in a ritualistic way.- creating for themselves the spirit of self-righteousness to such an extent it blinded their minds to what Jesus was saying and doing. Because Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath Day “the Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.” [v.6] They later made wild allegations against him saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul … the prince of demons” [v.22]
It is highly interesting that there is no mention of demons, or even the word ‘devil’ in the Old Testament. Beelzebub gets a mention (2 Kings 1 v.3) as the idol-God in Ekron! Human imagination about the evil-spirit world had only come as a result of the influence of Greek philosophy when they conquered the ancient world 200 years or so before Christ.
Notice how Jesus, in a sense, ‘makes fun’ or ridicules their ways of thinking – ‘How can Satan cast out Satan?” [v.23]. His family members come to see what is going on, obviously there were rumours circulating about him: they are “standing outside, they sent to him and called him.” [v.31].
He is told they “are outside seeking you”. His response is very significant, “looking about at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God, he (or she) is my brother and sister and mother.”
The religious leaders had a corrupted perception of the will of God: we, who have God’s word so readily available have no excuse for failing to read it carefully so that we know the ways and principles upon which God acts – and so we do “the will of God” and as a result are truly Christ’s “brother and sister and mother.”