MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (April 26, 2021)

*I apologize for not sending out our Monday Minutes devotion last week; I was out of town at a preaching engagement that weekend, and had to leave town that Monday as well for business. Sorry!*

The Pharisees had fixed ideas about God and what His work entailed. They had been taught certain doctrines and traditions from childhood, and by the time Jesus arrived on the scene they felt threatened by anybody or anything that fell outside the “box” in which they had placed God in their minds! But there’s a famous quote from the the Chronicles of Narnia series in reference to Aslan the Lion, who is the fictionalized figure of Christ created by C.S. Lewis: “He’s not a tame Lion.” That is, He doesn’t fit neatly into anyone’s fixed opinions!

Notice the progression of Jesus ministry in Mark 3: He continued to teach (Mark 3:1), He continued to heal (Mark 3:2-12), and He continued to call disciples to Himself (Mark 3:13-19). Not only did His teaching upset apple carts, but His healing did as well: He healed on the Sabbath Day, which led the Pharisees to seek counsel with others in an effort to destroy Him. Can you believe this? A Man has done GOOD on the Sabbath, and yet because their idea of God was so circumscribed – in their “box” – that they couldn’t accept this as anything other than an assault on their belief system. What a sad position they have reached in their religious views!

Nonetheless, the common people continued to flock to Him. He healed them, cast out unclean spirits, and did all kinds of miracles as He taught them. Then He went up into a mountain. What comes next is very interesting.

In Mark 3:13, we read: “And he goeth up into a mountain, and callers unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.” Isn’t it interesting that He “called unto him whom he would”? It wasn’t WHOMEVER would, but whom HE would! Sometimes we hear about men who are “daddy called” and “mama sent”; but a true minister of the gospel is called by God, not man! In verse 14, we are told that He “ordained” twelve apostles. The word “ordained” literally means “to make”; Jesus alone could make apostles! I hear many today calling themselves “apostles,” but only Jesus could make a man an apostle!

As we keep reading in Chapter 3, we find that everybody who knew Him thought there was something wrong with Him! His friends and family thought He was crazy (Mark 3:20-21): “they said, He is beside himself”. The religious leaders thought He had a devil (Mark 3:22-30). How amazing is that? Even those closest to Him thought He’d lost it!

When your teachings and lifestyle don’t fit in with the common way of thinking in the culture, people will begin to criticize. I often get questions about why we do things the way we do them in the Primitive Baptist church. Our practices don’t match up with the mega-church mindset of our modern-day religious culture. But the question isn’t “what do others think,” the question is “what does Jesus think?” Sometimes we can be influenced so much by the modern way of thinking and doing things that we put God in a box in OUR minds!

But Jesus’ answer is always best: first, He challenged the illogic of their accusations. Elder Sonny Pyles always said that if you’ll reason out a heresy to its logical conclusion, it’ll die a natural death! He asks them, How could Satan work against Satan? It makes no sense to accuse Me of having a devil! Then He tells His own family, I have work to do that involves much more than what you guys see – “[W]hosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” (Mark 3:35). That is, my work involves more than “mama called” and “daddy sent”; I have a whole family out there that I am working on behalf of, and will ultimately fulfill my Heavenly Father’s will in regard to.

These all had God in a box in their minds, and because of this they missed the majesty of the work of Christ. Is your God in a box? Do you have God fixed in your mind in a certain way, perhaps by tradition or by misunderstanding of the Scriptures? If so, then you need to tear up the box! God is NOT a “tame God,” circumscribed by your fixed opinions. He is a God Who upends preconceived notions, and has established His spiritual Kingdom on earth. May we ever seek to know more and more about Him!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor