Gracious God, thank you for the abundance of your power that has brought me through another day. Your unmeasured understanding has been my counsel, your healing power my comfort, your covenant my assurance. O God, who numbers and names the stars, I go to my rest with my eyes cast upon your heavenly realm. Guard me from your enemy and create in me a clean heart and renew within me a right Spirit. In the blessed name of Jesus the Christ I pray. Amen.
Daily Archives: May 6, 2021
Psalm 96 (ESV)
Worship in the Splendor of Holiness
96 Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, “The Lordreigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Mark 11:27-33 (ESV)
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him,28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet.33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Here’s a saying you’ll often hear in self-help groups: “It’s none of my business what other people think of me.” It’s certainly the case that some people are so affected by others’ opinions that they are afraid to change. They are stuck in the “paralysis of analysis,” examining their every move, trying to figure out what people might say about it. It would be so much better if they would just listen to their own hearts instead.
The high priests, scribes, and elders whom Jesus questions here seem to suffer from this kind of fear. They’re afraid to answer him only because of how the people around them will react. If they answer one way, Jesus will criticize them. If they answer another, the people will criticize them. We know what they really think – because they eventually bring Jesus to trial on trumped-up charges. However, instead of confronting Jesus directly, they won’t even take a position! They’re content to wait for another opportunity to trip him up. Who knows? Maybe if they had just said what they were thinking, things would have turned out differently.
Unlike these religious leaders, we’ve accepted Jesus’ divinity. But we may still be tempted to act as they did and submit to the court of public opinion. When someone challenges you on your faith, how do you react? Do you state your position calmly and confidently? Or do you agonize over how that person will react, and end up saying nothing? Even with the best of intentions, we can sometimes let fear get the better of us – especially when we’re faced with someone who passionately disagrees with us.
It’s likely that sooner or later, you’ll run into someone who will question your belief in Christ and your witness to his name. When that happens, don’t cave in! Don’t worry too much about what to say or how to say it. Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you (Luke 12:11-12). Your logic may not convince them, but the light of Christ’s love shining through you just might. Speak the truth with charity and simplicity, and you may just turn an enemy into a friend!