Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day 71: Mark 3:21-35 & Psalm 72 - How Does the World Oppose Jesus?

Today's Reading: Mark 3:21-35 & Psalm 72

How Does the World Oppose Jesus?

 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying,
“He is out of his mind.”
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying,
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
 - Mark 3:21-22

Yesterday, we were focused on the fact that the various factions and forces in the world are united by something: opposition to Jesus. This is what Psalm 2 says:

The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.” - Psalm 2:2-3, ESV

But how does the world oppose Jesus? Well, we see two good examples today in Jesus' earthly family and in the scribes. Jesus' earthly family opposed him because they thought He was crazy. They wanted to take Him home and talk some sense into Him. Still today, the world opposes Jesus by calling Christians crazy and accusing us of being extremist, out-of-touch with reality, etc. 

The scribes attacked Jesus by accusing Him of being evil, of using the power of Satan to cast out demons. They called His good work the work of the devil, committing the sin of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in the process. Even today, another common tactic for the world to use in opposition to Christ is to label Christians and the work of the church as evil. By calling Christians hateful bigots and comparing us to Nazis, the world opposes Jesus by calling His kingdom an evil kingdom.

How should we respond to these accusations from the world? What do we do when the world calls us crazy or evil? Well, Jesus responded to these kinds of accusations by speaking the truth with wisdom and demonstrating the power of His kingdom in love. Jesus didn't just call the scribes liars, but He wisely exposed the ridiculousness of their accusation. He also didn't just shut down their claim, He countered it with His demonstrations of His power and love.

This is our calling, too: Speak the truth in wisdom, countering the accusations of the world with wise words to disarm their accusations. Then, show the nature of Christ's kingdom in powerful acts of love.

But here's the catch: Doing this will not make the world change their minds and start liking us. Remember, they killed Jesus, and He said that if the world hated Him, it would hate us, too. But we're not seeking approval from the world. We serve our King and He is always faithful to us. 

Prayer Based on Psalm 72:

Endow King Jesus with your justice, O God,
            your royal Son with your righteousness.
   Let Jesus judge your people in righteousness,
            your afflicted ones with justice.
   May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
            the hills the fruit of righteousness.
   May he defend the afflicted among the people
            and save the children of the needy;
            let him crush the oppressor.

O Father, let Jesus rule from sea to sea
            and from the River to the ends of the earth.
   Let the desert tribes bow before him
            and his spiritual enemies lick the dust.
   May the royalty, prime ministers and presidents
            of distant shores
            bring tribute to him;
   May the governments of Europe, Africa
            and Asia,
   the governments of North and South America
            present Jesus with gifts.
   May every government on earth bow down to him
            and all nations serve Jesus.
   For Jesus will deliver the needy who cry out,
            the afflicted who have no one to help.
   He takes pity on the weak and the needy
            and saves the needy from death.
    Let him rescue them from oppression and
            for precious is their blood in his sight.

   Long may Jesus live!

   May the name of Jesus endure forever;
            may it continue as long as the sun.
   All nations will be blessed through him,
            and they will call him blessed.
   Who will not fear him, O Lord,
            and bring glory to his name?
            For he alone is holy.
   All nations will come and worship before him,
            for his righteous acts have been revealed.

   Praise be to the Lord God, the God of the Church,
            who alone does marvelous deeds.
    Praise be to his glorious name forever;
            may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
             Amen and Amen.

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