For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Most people know Jesus was kind, loving, and caring.
What most people forget is Jesus could come down pretty hard on anyone who tried to make up laws and then say those laws came from God. The Savior really got steamed when those folks tried to force those laws on others.
If you doubt the truth of the previous sentence, look at Matthew 23:3b-4. Some of the milder things Jesus says about the Pharisees are these: ". . . For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger."
Nope. Jesus didn't like people who made up laws for God.
Enter the Pakistani Taliban.
Recently, Taliban militants shaved half the hair from the heads, beards, and mustaches of four men who had been caught breaking the law. Do I hear you asking, "What law breaking could merit such a weird punishment?" Listen to one of the men who was punished as he explains the situation:
"I was with three other friends in my car, listening to music when armed Taliban stopped us and, after smashing cassettes and the cassette player, they shaved half our heads and mustaches. The Taliban also beat us and asked us not to listen to music ever again."
Did he report the incident? Sadly, he did not. Why? He said, "It might have annoyed the Taliban further and I fear for my life."
So much for those who say all religions are the same.
Now, some people may like a religion that says, "Thou shalt not listen to a good tune." As for me and my house, I prefer a faith that encourages the making of a "joyful noise." I like a church where God's inspired writer-and-ex-Pharisee -- the apostle Paul -- could say, "For freedom Christ has set us free."
Jesus has set us free. Knowing that, Paul encourages believers to stand firm in the foundation of their faith and resist submitting again to a life of slavery. In our prayer today, we rejoice in that blood-bought freedom Jesus has given to all who acknowledge Him as Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, wherever possible bring to repentance those who think they are doing You a favor by making up laws. Let them see we are saved by grace and grace alone. Lead them to believe on Jesus, who is Your great Gift to save. In His Name. Amen.
In yesterday's devotion, we referred to the "swine flu". We wish to clarify that you cannot get the virus from eating pork. Also, we should have referred to this virus by its correct title of "H1N1". Our sincerest apologies. --Pastor Ken Klaus
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries