SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48, Mark 11:12-15
In Matthew 5:43-48 we are told to love our enemies and to bless those who curse us. We are told to be good to those who hate us and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us. Once again, the context of this passage is that of being evangelistic and winning people into the Kingdom. How does this evangelistic approach fit with the final cleansing of the temple in Mark 11? In Mark 11, Jesus is about to finish His race. He went into Jerusalem, looked at all that was in the temple and retreated to Bethany. The next day, in Mark 11:12-15, Jesus cursed a fig tree and killed it. He killed the tree with His words. He then went into the temple to clean house. He told the twelve that they would do to adversaries what was done to the fig tree. Would their words bring judgment? When their message was not received, they were commanded to release a covenantal judicial curse! They could release it out of their mouth. There is a judicial manifestation of God’s love when people resist the Word. One great thing about the Bible is the balance that it brings us when we study both sides of an issue. But this means the way we navigate life has to be by the Spirit. There are times the Spirit will lead us to “turn-the-other-cheek”. But there are also times the Spirit will say to slap our sandals together and declare it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for them. There are times we will have to say if someone continues rejecting the Word they will face the judgment of the Living God. But you cannot find that in seminary and often do not hear it from pulpits. Yet Jesus taught it when He sent out the Twelve and reaffirmed it when He sent out the Seventy. But today’s Christians seem to pick and choose what they want to do and what parts of the Bible they need to follow. If we do not like a certain section of scripture we omit it or explain it away. Jesus will not go away! His love is evangelistically accepting, pastorally forbearing, prophetically warning, and in a teaching mode, it can afflict. What seminary do you go to, or pulpit can you find where you are taught to walk in this? I am not sure there is one. But every seminary and pulpit in America should teach people how to walk in the Spirit so at the Spirit’s direction we can “turn-the-other-cheek” or at the Spirit’s direction we can bring the affliction of overturning, just like Jesus. The early church did this. They had no problem following the Spirit. Why have we neglected this realm of God’s saving love? Peter’s words killed Ananias and Sapphira! Paul walked in it. The early church prayed and Herod died. It is time we walked in it as well! You can do it!