This photo looks like a tun-o-fun to me! Personally, getting slimy muddy in the name of a great good time is quite appealing. The problem comes when we start slopping mud onto each other—with our words. Here’s the story:
“One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, ‘Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth…”
Check out the context. Jesus and a select few of His disciples had just experienced the great Transfiguration—a “mountaintop experience” if ever there was one. On the heels of that, as they return to the rest of the disciples, there is a crowd of people (typical) and this gentleman in dire need with his precious son. What I find interesting is what is happening as Jesus approaches:
“When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them…’What is all this arguing about?’ Jesus asked.”
The disciples were unable to provide for the need, and the nay-sayers (religious, legalistic Pharisees) snared them into an argument, probably over issues of blame:
- Was this the father’s fault or the sins of the child (reference the ensuing Q&A session the disciples have with Jesus after He dispenses with the situation);
- If this Jesus is so powerful, why isn’t “it” working;
- If you’re a disciple, then why can’t you do “this”;
I need to be very careful, intentionally watchful over my own heart (and words) when my plans in working for the God’s kingdom somehow go, well, not as planned. (How inconvenient that the spiritual realm doesn’t always fit into my nice little programmatic box…) That’s when the religious vultures have a hey-day. If I allow it, this pulls my attention away from the task at hand (this poor dad and his son were left in a corner by themselves, probably listening to all sorts of damaging accusations), and focuses on fruitless arguments causing more harm than good. I’m sure the demonic enemy was enjoying the scene as well.
After reprimanding the people for their lack of faith, I love Jesus’ next statement:
“Bring the boy to me.”
What if the disciples had just reassured the dad that Jesus would be back in a minute, and then refused to answer the accusations of the Pharisees?
When something goes down, rather than just quietly waiting on Jesus, we start slinging mud back at the secular opposition, or even at each other. The end result is that we all get dirty.
But not in the fun way.
Mark 9:14-19 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 7074-7079). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.