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Reflections On “A Ransom For Many” — 4

Updated: May 17, 2020

Daniel Tan

Mark 3:7-35

The idea of family is integral in Christianity. We are called to treat older women as mothers, younger women as sisters and men as brothers by both Paul and Jesus himself. There is a form of relational being in this kingdom. We are not merely fellow citizens. We are called to become part of the family through Christ, the head of the household being God. It's a simple idea, but it holds a lot of power. It's not about master and servant anymore. It's about a relationship. A relationship where God oversees all and protects those under his household.

Yet amidst the tyranny of overthinking, simple concepts like this can get lost. “What is family?” “What does it mean to treat someone as a sister, brother or mother?” In our attempts to understand all that we can and to avoid making mistakes, we ask questions that are not answered through knowledge. They are answered through experience.

The answers of Christ are simple: in the shoes of the other, how would you wish to be treated? Or how would you wish for one of your own to be treated? That is the right answer. It differs from person to person. And sure, there is a need to make sure the directions are right, but trying to become legalistic about it only ends us up where the Pharisees and teachers existed. Nothing got through to them because they were too caught up in the specifics to see the bigger picture.

In fact, they needed so much control that when Jesus demonstrated the ability to cast out demons, their conclusion was that he did it through the power of the king of demons. Overturning their nonsensical ideas, Jesus corrected them firmly. Why would the king of demons act against his own armies? It was a pointless and fruitless endeavor. Their fear of the unknown caught them off guard and caused them to draw inaccurate conclusions. It wasn't ‘right’ as per their laws. So it couldn't be right. It's the same attitude that scientists took when they mocked germ theory or the heliocentric theory. Yet now we know that those ridiculed were the ones who had it right all the time.

In the same vein, God doesn't always come through the things and people we imagine he will. Perhaps instead of closing off we need to keep an open mind, even in what seems like the most implausible of situations.

As Christians we are asked to obey and to build our house on a firm foundation. Only a fool would have built his house on the sand, where it was inevitable that the flood would take over. In the deserts of Israel existed large stone dam-like structures called wadis where water would collect during a storm. Because of the nature of the wadi, they were prone to bursting if too much water was held. Building a house on the sand would be like building a house below a dam that was cracking. It was a risky and honestly dumb idea. Yet, if we try to build our faith on a shaky foundation, it has the same meaning. We would be setting ourselves up for disaster.

Daniel Tan

Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections.

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