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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Mark 108 - Beautiful

And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

Mark 7:9-13

Mister Rogers delighted boys and girls for more than 30 years. His calm and loving manner resonated in a world that was becoming more and more intense, filled to overflowing with unrest.

There was a tradition at the beginning of each and every episode. It started with him singing the show’s theme song[1].

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

A beautiful day for a neighbor Could you be mine? Would you be mine? It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood A neighborly day for a beauty Could you be mine? Would you be mine? I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you Let's make the most of this beautiful day Since we're together, might as well say Would you be my, could you be my Won't you be my neighbor?

While everyone focuses on the neighbor and neighborhood, there is actually another word that turns our focus somewhere else. The song points us toward beauty. Not a beauty that shows off or demands attention, but a beauty to behold, wonder at, letting it wrap its warm, soft arms around us. Holding us tight, protecting us from evil and harm.

It was this same kind of beauty that Jesus is referring to. These so called leaders were using “tradition” as a way to set aside, turn away from, and reject God’s beautiful and loving direction for our lives.

And what was the purpose of rejecting God’s instructions and traditions? So they could replace God’s beautiful view and purpose for their lives with their own. In my youth, this was called “doing your own thing.”

Or, as the Isley Brothers put it, “It’s your thing, do what you wanna do[2].”

Even though these words of Jesus were spoken more than 2,000 years ago, they are perhaps more applicable today than ever before. We are told by our culture to look within ourselves to make our own meaning and purpose. Our fulfillment and happiness are to only be found by trying to satisfy any and all desires.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day happily swept aside the loving guidance of the creator and sustainer of the universe for other traditions made up by lowly people. They exchanged God’s point of view for the traditions of earth. The traditions of the beautiful blue sky for the traditions of dirt.

And that’s exactly what we do. We’re offered God’s best, both himself and a life that perfectly fits in with how he made us. And our choices, that we think will give us fulfillment and freedom, only tie us up. Handcuffing us and throwing us into a deep, dark, dungeon.

When we do this, Jesus’ evaluation is that we invalidate and stamp null and void on God, his creation, and the way he made us. The results are harsh and painful as we desperately try to find fulfillment in things that can never satisfy.

These words of Jesus, though hard, are meant to shock us, awaken us from our complacency of thinking that we must figure life out, fix ourselves, and follow our limited selves. All the while, the God who made us, loves us, died for us, is calling us to come back to himself.

It certainly sounds like the deal of the century. Actually, it’s not. It’s the deal of all eternity.

[1] [2]

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