Ministry Of The Unexpected
Read : Mark 2: 19-22
Jesus turns His enemy’s criticism into an opportunity to announce the defining quality of the kingdom of God – joy. It’s a sense of joy that is the grace note of the soundtrack of the kingdom.
The Pharisees, like many Christians, take themselves too seriously and are no longer able to laugh at their ludicrous rites, or admit errors in judgment, or respond to a time of joy. They are spiritually neurotic. The more they try to live up to their self-imposed religious standards, the further they fall from perfection. They go round and round in a vicious cycle of guilt. Jesus came to break that cycle.
The good news of the gospel cannot be contained in old forms of religion. Jesus’ kingdom of joy cannot be sewn onto the old garment of tradition. The new wine of His gospel will burst through old structures. The gospel of the Kingdom is a new joy that stretches old systems beyond the breaking point and builds pressure in old structures until they burst. Jesus makes a decisive and deliberate decision to serve and save people. If He is to sound the note of joy, He must leave behind the worn out garments of religion and the stiff old wineskins of orthodoxy.
Every follower of Jesus must be willing to leave behind their old ways of trying to earn God’s favor and embrace Jesus’ kingdom of joy. A kingdom that welcomes tax gathers, one that throws parties for prodigals and throws a feast when the faithless return. His kingdom is not for mourning, but laughter and joy.
Is your image of Jesus stiff and ridged, or one of joy and laughter? Would YOU reject religion and respond to a relationship with Him?