heresies are like weeds

Mark 12:1-16:20; James; Galatians

Mark, apart from the gospel that bears his name, appears elsewhere as a secondary figure. Cousin of Barnabas, he might have been the man who escaped from the soldiers who arrested our Lord. He is obviously something of an activist recording nineteen miracles compared with eight recorded by John and only eight parables compared with twenty-five recorded by Luke. After the briefest of introductions he enters immediately on his story.

Heresies are like weeds, they are hard to be rid of and seem to be self-propagating. Man is easily capable of inventing his own heresies and markedly incapable of improving on Divine revelation. Paul is emotional elsewhere but in Galatians I feel his passion, perhaps even rage, more strongly than anywhere else. He has perhaps learned by experience that nothing can be more frustrating and opposed to the gospel than the continuing effort to produce Christian character unaided by the Holy Spirit and then to assume that my acceptance by the Father is on the basis of that performance.

Paul's Christian experience began with his confession of Jesus's supremacy when he addressed Him as Lord. (Acts 9.5.) but my suspicion is that the doctrinal, ethical and practical fruition of that initial confession demanded more than his three days of blindness and might well have developed during his three years in Arabia. Did he visit Horeb where both Moses and Elijah had been before him?

We do not easily or rapidly accept our inate ignorance of what we must do to please the Father and when we have learned a little we must then discover our inability to perform what hopefully we now desire. One of my secretaries had on the wall of her office which was next to mine a framed Pennsylvania/Dutch proverb which read "We get too soon old and too late smart".

James, sometimes known as "the Less" or "the Just" the brother of our Lord became the first bishop of Jerusalem. Sometimes called "camel-knees" because of the deformity produced by his rigorous prayer practices, he was a strict vegetarian apart from the Passover lamb and history says he never cut his hair, shaved or bathed and continued to have a high regard for the law. The last reference to James in Acts 21. 18-26 would seem to confirm this.

Today's Blogger: Rev. David Edwards

Tomorrow's Text: 1 Thess.; 2 Thess.; 1 Cor. 1:1-11:34