Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Student Devotions - Tuesday, February 17th

Good morning my students. I hear that honesty is becoming an issue for some of you. It is a shame that we find ourselves facing such situations. Perhaps we need to take some time to reflect on what kind of person we want to become in life because what we seed today will be who we are tomorrow.

There is a saying, "Politics make strange bed-fellows". Sounds a bit odd, right? What it conveys is that sometimes when we set aside character and we put a goal in its place we will go to any length to achieve it. We will become friends with enemies, we will become part of things we would normally abhore, and we will compromise ourselves by doing things we would never normally do.

Jesus went into the temple in Mark 3 and knew immediately that a trap had been set for him. But Jesus never allowed fear to prevent him from doing what was right. He could have avoided trouble by meeting up with this man later that day but instead he looked around and made sure he had everyone's attention.

Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."

To make sure they were all paying attention he asked them:

"Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?"

Do you think they had the guts to respond? No way. Jesus took their trap and turned it around on them. It did not matter how they responded, they would have looked bad. So they preferred to hide in the shadows, laying traps and never venturing forward to ask honest questions.

It is not often that we read about Jesus' emotions in this way but this is how Mark describes it:

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts...

Right in their faces he reached out and healed that man, on the Sabbath. He did exactly what they were hoping he would do because it was the right thing for him to do. Jesus was consistant in his character. It was easy for them to lay traps because they knew he would respond in the same manner. But Jesus was always able to turn it back on them. However, the Pharisees did not stay true to their purpose.

This is where the "strange bed-fellows" comes into it. The Pharisees left that place and went running to the Herodians. The Herodians were a priestly group that was set up by the ruling kings. They were also a political/religious group that was associated with the Sadducees and whose purpose was to promote the reign of the Herods. In other words, they were the sworn enemy of the Pharisees. So what were the Pharisees doing working with their enemy? They were willing to compromise thenselves, their beliefs, their reputations to obtain the goal of ridding themselves of Jesus.

Comprise is a terrible thing when you give up parts of your character to obtain something, even if that thing seems to be as trivial as gaining breathing space at school. It is true that sometimes compromise is essential when it comes to people working together for a good goal but that compromise will always be about our desires and not our character. Jesus never compromised who he was for the sake of obtaining his goal. The enemy offered him some short cuts but it would have changed his character. To stay true to his character Jesus had to take the difficult road.

That brings us back to you. What compromises are you making? How is it changing your character? Do you really feel good about yourself in what you have been doing or do you recognize where you have been comprising the wrong things? Thankfully our God is the great restorer of all things. Take it to him. Submit yourself to him. Recognize and confess where you have gone wrong and he will restore you back to where you should be. Breathing space is not worth the price you, my students are paying right now.

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