Reflection fo Monday 24th January 2022

The Rev’d Roger Elks

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Hello, there must be nothing worse for a footballer than to score an own goal, either through a mistake or just through stupidity, and everyone to shout at him. “Well, whose side are you on? You’re meant to be kicking the ball that way and you’ve pushed it into our own net!. Whose side are you on?”

That’s the question that people were asking Jesus? Our reading is from Mark Chapter 3, beginning at verse 22.

22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

The New International Version. 2011. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

So, one of the problems that people had in meeting Jesus – (a problem! Do you think people have a problem meeting Jesus? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to meet Him?) But actually, we read and we experience now, people have a problem encountering Jesus because they have to make a decision. Whose side is he on?

The scribes, these teachers of the law from Jerusalem, had to decide whether Jesus was good or evil. If he was good, then they had to recognize that good comes from God, and therefore Jesus was from God. If he was evil, from Satan or Beelzebub, then he was doing these things by Satan. And Jesus points out the obvious: that these good deeds, these good signs that he was doing, must come from God because they were against Satan and evil.

So why did the scribes not want to see this? What was their motive for rejecting what everyone else could see was obvious? Because, I guess, if they had to recognize that Jesus was from God, they must recognize that he has God’s power. And they didn’t want to lose their own authority and their own power. But the scribes are also in danger, as Jesus points out, because in refusing to recognize God’s power, they are rejecting God’s authority and in rejecting God’s authority, they are excluding themselves from God’s forgiveness.

And that challenge is for every human being. Every human being must discern the power and authority of the creator of God. And for those who encounter God in the person of Jesus Christ, through his word, through his Spirit, through his church, must decide. They must decide if Jesus is God, and that Jesus can forgive through his death on the cross. That challenge is for every human being, and it is a responsibility.

It’s a responsibility for us as we decide each day to follow Jesus Christ, to recognize His power, to submit to Jesus as Lord. And it’s a responsibility for us to show Jesus to the world; to point out the good words and the good works of Jesus and to witness, to help people to make the choice to accept him.

The world has a choice. And also, with a choice, comes a responsibility and that is to choose life. And that is our prayer and message to the world, isn’t it? Choose life.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that you came to bring life, life in all, its fullness. Help us each day to recognize your power and to witness to that power to others that they too may choose life. Amen.

Almighty God, whose Son revealed in signs and miracles, the wonder of your saving presence. Renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness, sustain us by your mighty power through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, Now and forever. Amen.