March 18, 2008
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21
Every once in a while I come across a news story I just can’t figure out. That’s probably one of the reasons I’m not a judge.
The story behind today’s Daily Devotion deals with two teenagers from Oregon who were suspended from South Albany High School. They were punished because they refused to put away their crucifixes. One of the boys was ordered to hide a necklace, the other was told to take off a string of rosary beads that had a crucifix and a tiny picture of the Virgin Mary.
The boys, one of whom was suspended for five days, the other for three, said they were only wearing gifts they had received from their mothers.
Religious persecution? If so, I’m ready to take a stand!
But wait, there’s a rest of the story. Chris Equinoa, the principal who gave the order said, “it’s related to gangs,” according to one of the suspended youth. Albany police say officers in nearby towns have been dealing with crucifixes and rosaries being used as gang symbols for the last several years.
Executive assistant to the superintendent, Jim Haggart added, “We're not trying to squash any religious symbols and we're not trying to get into religion, but we are trying to get into student safety, and that's what we're really concerned about.”
So, who’s right? I can’t tell, but God can. If the matter isn’t decided before, it will most certainly be resolved when the Savior comes back to judge the world. On that day Jesus is going to separate the wheat from the chaff. Judging justly, He will decree, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus was fully aware there would always be hypocrites—men and women, who, like Judas, know the Savior and may even pretend to be one of His disciples. They might say the right things, but they won’t act like disciples, and they certainly won’t believe like disciples.
This is why, by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s power, we need to try and do the will of our Father in heaven. Saved by the blood of the Savior, let us, most sincerely, proclaim the love of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You sacrificed Your life for me and thereby did the will of the Father in heaven. Now, may I and all who have been brought to faith in You as Savior, honor You by living our lives according to our Father’s wishes. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries