Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 6 August 2015

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9 verse 42.

Tell me, even if you don’t fully accept this Jesus, would you REALLY want the creator of the universe mad at you?   He who created everything by speaking, He who rose Himself out of death, He who could do all those physical miracles, He who did miracles through Moses and Elijah and the prophets:   would you really, truly, honestly want Him pissed off at you?

Make no mistake about it:   Jesus is laying it down here.   “Mess with My believers and you’ll get so much worse.”   He’s not promising to mete out mafia justice or hip hop street cred; those are far too pedestrian.   No, Jesus is talking forever.   He’s getting down to the heart of the matter, just like Don Henley would want Him to. Mess with believers and you answer to Jesus. Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”   The context of that verse is how there are consequences for disobeying God, who is Jesus of Nazareth. Those words were dictated to their author years after Jesus spoke His original throw-down, yet they’re another way of spelling out what is in store for those who deliberately draw others into sin.

Now, let’s keep it real here:   you and me, we each cause others to sin.   Who’s the worse sinner:   the guy laughing at the dirty jokes or the guy telling them?   The man cheating on his wife or the woman cheating with him?   The worker who steals from their employer by padding their expense reports or the manager who lets him get away with it?   We each draw others into sin; we each contribute to the many sins of others.   Is Jesus promising us eternal damnation for that?

Maybe, that is, if in doing these sinful things we go the extra step of denying Jesus to others.   “Screw it, everybody’s doing it.”   Yep:   sinful.   “Screw it, everybody’s doing it and your God is a myth.”   Yep: sinful and over the line blasphemy.   You’re in Jesus’ danger zone (even without Kenny Loggins’ song in your head). If you believe in your heart that Jesus isn’t who He is, you’ve got a problem and He’s going to call you on it.

Yet consider the flip side of this warning Jesus gives us. He mentioned it in the verse prior to this one.   We can’t deny Jesus in anything we do, even our sins, if we truly believe in Him.   If we truly believe in Him, even when we make terrible mistakes, we can come to Him and honestly repent.   We can honestly turn from those misdeeds and all our ugly junk and follow Him again.   We get to do that; we get to receive His unending grace, not because we deserve it or even because we do something, but instead just because He is the God who He says He is.   He is love and in His perfect love, that awesome grace flows down whether we sin or not.   It’s about Him, not us, so much so that He bled and died for us out of that perfect love.   In Him, we can’t deny Him even if we try.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be found on Jesus’ good side.

Lord Jesus, I believe in You and only You.

Read Mark 9, verses 42-50.

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