A phrase from the Gospel of Mark 7:36 has always intrigued me. Jesus has just finished some of his miracles and, as he often does in Mark's Gospel, informs those around him that they shouldn't tell anyone about what they have seen. But Mark lets us know that this isn't as easy as it sounds. Mark's line is a simple statement:
Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.I point this out for two reasons. For one- how could he hope to get people to follow him if he kept it a secret? Second- and the one that strikes me this week- is how well people obeyed him.
The more he urged them to be quiet, the more they talked. The more miracles he did, the more he asked them to be quiet, and the more they spread the news.
That of course makes sense- if you have just met a miracle worker of the stature of Jesus you would want others to know about it. If this miracle worker had just done something amazing for you, one of your family members or one of your neighbors, everyone in town would know about it with a few days if not a few hours. Even before social media got those things posted before the hour passed.
Maybe I'm in a particular cynical mood today, but my reaction to the quote was as simple and straightforward as Mark:
The more Jesus wants us to do something, the less likely we are to do it!Take the example of Matthew 25 where Jesus says we should feed the hungry, visit the prisoner and the sick as if we were doing these acts to Jesus. Then there's the call to treat the poor and stranger with compassion and care. When was the last time that either of us gave someone the shirt off our back when they only asked for our coat?
But then I got downright radical.
If Jesus didn't mention something, maybe that is what we should be taking care of!Now I'm really meddling in things that I shouldn't. Many of you will probably guess what I'm thinking about. The great religious fervor and willingness to stand up against sin- esp. that of same-sex marriage. It is obviously something of incredibly great importance - since Jesus never mentions it. It is obviously something that we need to make sure we stand up against.
If it were something so-so, or a common every day thing- Jesus would have talked about it and told us not to talk about it. But since there is nothing anywhere in the Gospels about homosexuality, we better correct Jesus error- or really obey what he wants us to really do- condemn them.
So remember, if Jesus tells us to do something, it is okay to disobey him like they did 2000 years ago when he told them not to tell anyone.
Be bold- disobey Jesus. He's obviously forgiving to us when we do that.
And be very diligent about disobeying.
Especially when he makes such statements as:
Whoever is without sin, cast the first stone.