15 Sep Why or What? Which Is More Important?
At the close of Mark 1 Jesus healed a leper and told him not to tell anyone. But the man was barely out of earshot when he exploded with joy and told everyone what Jesus had done for him. The result of his disobedience made it impossible for Jesus to enter any of the surrounding towns because the crowds were so great and the streets so narrow.
One of my students asked me if the man had sinned because he disobeyed Jesus. I told him I thought Jesus understood and did not count it against the poor fellow. One of life’s great lessons is God understands. Why we do something is often more important than what we do. According to Paul in I Corinthians 13, we can be martyred and have it mean nothing because we did it for the wrong reason. Yet in Mark 2 Jesus commends David for breaking the law by feeding his men the showbread from the sanctuary, which was reserved exclusively for priests.
I am not advocating robbing banks to give to the poor, yet we do have a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., who led non-violent civil disobedience demonstrations. It is obvious to any thinking person there is an ethic that transcends strict legalism. There is no question that God calls us to a life of obedience. There is no question that God calls us to a life of thoughtful action based upon unselfish love.
“For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself.” Galatians
Written by Roger Bothwell on November 18, 2003.
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