As I begin to read again the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in Mark, I am impressed by what is missing. The Lord did not institute ritualistic behaviour, as did the Pharisees with their fasting, tithing etc. He did not speak formulas for success or even a formula for the way to heaven. He did not teach like the scribes who referenced their messages to one another. His healing methods varied with different circumstances- no sequence of procedure as is common today.
He did give many great and precious promises. His was truth declared in accord with the Holy Scriptures and His bestowments of healing grace varied with the many needs. The kingdom of God was not about eating and drinking, but about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
For sure there was discipline like His early rising to pray, but not as a ritual. There was doctrine, but not dogma. There was commitment to Him rather than commitment to a cause. There was a price to pay, but not as a means of blessing. The sacrifice of things for Him was to be motivated by love for Him.
His teaching and working operated outside the Jewish systems and in teaching the disciples he did not seem to establish a detailed code of conduct other than ‘hearing‘ His word. In the end , as He looked upon that varied bunch of men, He said “Love one another as I have loved you”
When it came to the trial and crucifixion , there seemed to be no one to stand up for His defence. In the midst of His extreme suffering, there seemed to be no sensible explanation why He should suffer so. So much was left to the overseeing hand of The invisible God.
So what are we to conclude from all this – Firstly that “God’s ways are not our ways” (Isaiah 55). Secondly that things are not always as they may appear on the surface. Thirdly that our Lord is interested in persons more than policies and procedures and plans and programs. He wants to reach the HEARTS of all people so that the change for good is effected from the inside>>>> out.
The question then comes to us as individual ‘ Is your heart right with God?’
Then the next question ‘ Do I serve Him out of duty, ritual or love?’