Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Matthew 11:16-19)
They didn’t listen. They missed the point. They didn’t like the music that was played. So they turned away from John the Baptist and they ultimately conspired to murder Jesus Christ.
Sometimes we too are like those that rejected them.We want the gospel to fit our beliefs, desires, and agendas rather than shaping our beliefs, desires, and agendas to fit the gospel.
That is what happens with truth. Truth in all its forms is often less regarded than the lie told to meet the wishes of those who hear. We often prefer to be deceived rather than to face a difficult reality that requires us to change.We often prefer to deny or be blind to the character or morals of another if they help our agenda.
We take passages from the Bible and twist them to make a point. We take the word of God and use it as window dressing – disguising those thoughts and actions which are contra to His teaching. We use religion to dress up tortured thoughts and actions of others – to make them appear more pleasing.
The fact is that Christianity is not supposed to be a religion!
Following Jesus is not about following guidelines or rules but living a new reality. We follow Christ not because he established a new religion, but because He is the end of religion. He transcends religion. He is above religion. Christ did not come to institute new laws, but to fulfill the law. We spread the call of Christ not for ourselves, but rather so that we can exist beyond ourselves. It all comes down to how we weave the threads of our being. Are we weaving them in His likeness or an image that we choose to project?
You don’t need to be wise and intelligent to find Jesus. We don’t need to be a theologian or scholar to know who He is. No amount of knowledge or intellect will ever compare to the rest that we can find through faith in Jesus. Following Christ is about humbling ourselves like a child, living into a new and blessed reality, looking upon the world in an unbiased manner, loving those around you, and experiencing God as you experience life.
If we are going to call ourselves Christians, we must fully yoke ourselves to Christ. He must be the primary and determining yoke. We cannot simply come to church, hear the gospel, say our prayers, and then go to lunch. The gospel of Christ demands a response. That’s why Jesus is so harsh with his words. The people have seen God among them, they have witnessed the signs. Jesus has cleansed their lepers, healed their sick, calmed the sea, cast out their demons, forgiven their sins, preached and taught in their cities. Still, they reject Jesus and, before him, John the Baptist.
So, today, we need to make a decision or re-confirm our decision. The decision is about the threads of our life. We can either dance, celebrating and giving thanks for the coming of God among us in Jesus, or we can mourn our sins, the brokenness of our lives, and the pain of the world. But we must respond. We must choose one or the other. Either one is to wear the yoke of Christ. Both will reorient our lives and priorities and prove the truth that we follow only Him.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, open my ears to hear the good news of your kingdom and set my heart free to love and serve you joyfully. May nothing keep me from following you wholeheartedly.”
To what or whom are we yoked? To what or whom do we give ourselves? What or who takes priority in our lives, orienting how we live and relate to others, how we make decisions? We all harness our lives to something: another person, work, family, success, reputation, our country, our political party. Sometimes our yokes are more interior like fear, anxiety, anger, particular beliefs and opinions, the losses and tragedies of our lives. Regardless, they are the relationships and attachments that we depend on for meaning and, for better or worse, they give us our life’s direction. We’ve all got them and usually more than one.