“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.´ Mark 9:42 (NIV)
Our Shepherd leads His flock forward into understanding. Gently He brings us past the obstacles and dangers. He is always protecting. He is always showing us where to tread. He never wants us to stumble blindly into wrong thinking or treacherous ideology. He knows His Father and He knows better than anyone what is good for us. He knows where He needs to take His flock. He knows why we should respond to His guidance.
Jesus speaks harshly here of misleading the children of His Father. With very direct and strong words He warns against doing anything that would cause separation between those precious souls who look to Him, and their Father. Can anyone afford to make them lose their rightful position with God? Is Jesus telling us this because He does know and can see what the consequences are? Why does He tell us it would be better for us to suffer something horrible right here and right now?
Are we safe to start pointing fingers now or start to defend ourselves? Would we like to remove ourselves from any incrimination? Would we like to stand back comfortably waiting a reward we are sure we already deserve? Before we can take a deep breath of relief, we should examine what the question is. Before we stand before a celestial court, we might want to bring ourselves under a little trial of faith here and now. The stakes are high as our Savior is pointing out in our scripture. He states quite clearly what would be better for us than to go on in illusion. Is He or is He not, asking each of us to examine ourselves carefully?
In verses 43 to 49 Jesus elaborates the issue. He speaks of our hands, feet and eyes failing us and falling into sin. From sin, who is free? Who of us has not stumbled? Who could honestly say that today they have remained completely faithful in thought and deed? Are we as close to our Lord as He wants us to be right now? Is His sweet voice booming in our hearts and moving us to respond in every situation we face? Is it His nature that fills us or is it our own? Are we stepping out on our own understanding? Or are we stepping out on nothing but faith in Him?
Safely we can say that we all need to be a little closer to Him. Each of us needs to be more like Him. We must all seek Him with our entire beings. Is this where we fall short? Is this where sin finds a way to sneak in and divert our intentions from our Holy Father? Would it be better for us to take a careful look into the situation of our hearts right now? Should we bring this matter to Jesus while there is still time? The reward has been laid out before us. The consequences of losing that reward, has also been shared. Jesus is telling us what would be better for us. What are we going to do about it?
Dear Jesus, it is still so difficult for us to see when we are falling short. Sometimes we slip up without knowing it. Sometimes we let You down because some secret evil crept in and played with our fallen nature. Thank You for leading us towards the Father. Please show us our moments of weakness. Show us how to repent, to come to You and to seek healing from this disease of sin which afflicts our race. Let us seek You in honesty and earnestness. Draw us close so that You can keep us safe. Help us we pray, to choose what would be so much better for us!