MARK 3: THE RED CARPET
After being drawn to the glamour of the Red-Carpet pics in the latest gossip magazines at my hairdresser, I couldn’t help but notice my misguided righteousness. I told my daughter not to waste her money on trash. But I seemed to get sucked into reading it all, when it came free and sitting in a basket next to me. My hairdresser kindly offered me a coffee, but I let it go cold because I was sucked into the blurb written about goodness knows who!
Just as I’ve argued against buying gossip magazines, but then indulge in the tattletale when it’s free, my sub-standard piety is almost certainly breaking the Creator God’s Handbook. Was I not coveting what “my neighbour” has, as I drool over those Red-Carpet pictures?[a] What about “bearing a false witness against one’s neighbour”?[b] It’s a common practice for celebrity journalism and I was feeding my mind with it!
Today’s chapter begins with an equal quantity of misguided righteousness. Standing in a synagogue – a Jewish meeting hall dedicate for prayer and learning about the Creator God – Jesus was accused, and plotted against, for healing a man with a shrivelled hand. The reason: the day of the week. [v1-5] These first century religious leaders seemed to think that healing a man on the wrong day of the week, was far worse than plotting, on that same day, this innocent man’s death! [v6]
One way to see someone’s true motives and heart, is when they become popular. Watch what they are teaching because, what’s in the heart will certainly come out of their mouth.[c] In the case of Jesus’ popularity, He seemed set on withdrawing from centre stage, rather than taking to the Red-Carpet. [v7] When the crowd got too thick, instead of embracing His fame, He even retreated into the water! [v9] Tellingly, when His true identity was known by spirit beings, instead of allowing them the hot gossip (which, from human perspective, would surely promote His status), He insisted on shutting them up! [v11-12]
Instead of being like our Maker, having been created in His image, we prove to be opposite to Him time and again. Humans place high value on the outward appearance – none more evident than in the Red-Carpet pictures of the latest famous people in our glossy magazines. But the Creator looks at the heart.[d] And so the twelve, brought into Jesus’ inner circle, are not the “who’s who” of first century religious leaders. [v13-19] Instead they were, as some would say, a band of unschooled roughens and a few old fishermen…
In choosing these men, Jesus wasn’t looking for a marketing team. Instead, He was making HIStory.
Let’s go back in time for a minute… I want to take you back again to the days of Moses, to the wilderness story that we read about during February’s Breadcrumbs. You may remember that the Creator God got Moses to sew together a “Tent of Meeting” that housed the Mercy Seat.[e] It was before this Ark of the Covenant – made famous by the Indiana Jones movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark – that the High Priest got forgiveness for the people.[f] The Lord would come down and His Presence “resided above the Mercy Seat” at the centre to the community. The Mercy Seat was surrounded by the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Sleeping in their tents, three tribes on each side, like the points of a compass. Or, more accurately, laid out like a cross.[g]
When Jesus surrounded Himself with these twelve men, traveling with them and sleep with them camped around Him, He was doing something extraordinary. We’ve already gathered that He hadn’t picked the most influential statesmen of His day. And it wasn’t just about having twelve witnesses to testify to His behaviour day and night for the duration of His public life. I’m suggesting that this was a re-enactment of the wilderness journey for 40 months – one month for every year. I can’t prove this until all is revealed in heaven, but my guess is that they each carried DNA from one of the 12 tribes of Israel and, unbeknown even to them, they slept around Jesus in the same way the camp was laid out in Moses’ day.
I’m saying this, because I believe that the Creator God and His Word are far more complex than what we will ever know. Nothing is trivia information, and everything is important. Layer upon layer, is an incredibly complex Master Weaver’s Plan.
That being so, I’m suggesting that Jesus was the Angel of the Exodus.[h] If there’s to be anyone on the Red-Carpet of History, it would have to be the One who was tasked to lead the Creator’s family to the place that He prepared, in advance, for us to go. The One who carries the very name of God within Him. The One who’s voice is synonymous with the Creator’s words. And the One who was given authority not to forgive their rebellion. If this was true of Him, then He was the Mercy Seat incarnate – the One who personified the Creator’s ability to forgive sin[i] – and now He lived, and moved about, and camped out, at the centre of the Twelve of Israel.
For years I’d say that the Creator God uses ordinary people. But it wasn’t until I was 45, that I came across the strengths test: Strengths Finder 2.0 and found out what strengths had been built into my DNA by my Maker before I was even born.[j] My Maker knows what’s inside me and what I’m capable of. But more importantly still, is the reason why He knows. He designed me for a specific purpose as part of HIS story (history) – if only I’d be interested in getting involved in His MasterPlan.
Two broad options for LIFE lay ahead of me now. I can pursue putting “my mark on the world”. Or, I can listen to His call, recognise His voice, and respond[k] – just as the twelve disciples did. Like them, I can follow Him wherever He leads me – changing with the seasons as necessary. No matter what it is, or where I go, the pressure is off.[l] My place in history is now “my place in HIStory” and the results are up to Him.
So then, today’s chapter ends with two groups of people – the in-crowd and the out-crowd – and I wonder which group you fit into today?
The first group chose to say that Jesus had lost His senses [v20-21], or else that any power came from magic tricks and therefore satanic forces were at work within Him [v22], rather than being divinely filled and operating in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. [v23-27] As Immanuel – God with Us[m] (the incarnate Mercy Seat of God), Jesus said two incredibly significant things:
First, that ALL sin is forgivable and that we will be forgiven our mistakes – including any rubbish that we say about our Maker! [v28] This is unprecedented “Good News” because up until this point in HIStory, even those in the “in-crowd” were never sure that they were fully forgiven, or that the sacrifices (the atonement made by the High Priest) were fully acceptable.[n]
The second significant thing Jesus said came from knowing the ultimate reason for not being forgiven. To speak rubbish about God’s Holy Spirit was taking our rubbish to a whole new level. To go that far, is almost certainly not a result of basic ignorance – for which we’re later sorry. Instead, it’s most likely a deliberate heart attitude deep within one’s spirit, that’s now coming out of their mouth. For this irreversible decline, away from the Creator, Jesus called it “an eternal sin”. [v29]
Today’s chapter closes on a second group of people who should have been closest to Jesus – His own family – who had thought He’d lost His senses. [v20-21] Perhaps when you read my thoughts here today, especially about Jesus identity, you may think I’m dabbling in idiocy as well! But the accusation of foolhardiness, is a common allegation that’s been levelled against Jesus Followers for two thousand years.[o] I guess it’s the quickest way to write off any need to investigate whether someone’s calculated conclusions are adding up to something significant. If it involves the admission of being wrong, and a change in life-style choices, the easiest and most natural response is to say the divinity of Jesus is lunacy, and the person putting forward the notion is equally deluded.
In response to the accusation of madness, however, Jesus didn’t justify Himself. As the Living Word of God[p], He simply realigned His relationships: “whoever does the will of God (i.e. believes God’s Word), he is My brother and sister and mother”. [v39] And, as always, today’s chapter becomes vitally important for us today. Whose “in-crowd” are we wanting to be part of? I could join those who, by their inactive indecision, appear to have shelved any serious notion of Him as unscientific stupidity. On the other hand, and though I’ll never make it to the Red-Carpet of “who’s who” in this world, I’d prefer to accept the Creator’s script as He’s laid it out in HIStory?[q]
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Exodus 20:17
[b] Exodus 20:16 & 23:21
[c] Matthew 15:18-20
[d] 1 Samuel 16:7
[e] Exodus 26:10-22
[f] Exodus 30:10 & Leviticus c16
[g] Numbers c2
[h] Exodus 23:20-22a
[i] Mark 2:1-13 (Referring to v10)
[j] Jeremiah 1:5
[k] Exodus 23:21-22 [NASB]
[l] Matthew 11:29-30
[m] Isaiah 7:14 (Context: v10-16)
[n] Zechariah 3:1-7 (Referring with special note to v3)
[o] Acts 26:24 (Context: whole chapter)
[p] Exodus 23:22a and John 1:1-5 & v9-14
[q] Isaiah 53:1