There’s a reason that religious rules feel empty and hollow and meaningless. It’s because they are. Jesus came, in His own words, to set us free. And when He sets us free, we are free indeed.
I’m always taken by the stark contrast between rule-based religion on the one hand and the reality of the God of grace and mercy who sent His Son Jesus to suffer and die for the likes of thee and me, on the other.
Sadly, you don’t have to look all that far to discover rule-based religion. It’s something that manipulates and oppresses people the world over. And yet Jesus stands in such stark contrast to the oppression that religion has delivered to this world, to the lives of millions, down through the centuries.
Mark 3:7,8 Jesus went away with his followers to the lake. A large crowd of people from Galilee followed them. Many also came from Judea, from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from the area across the Jordan River, and from the area around Tyre and Sidon. These people came because they heard about all that Jesus was doing.
This large crowd intrigues me. Think about it. All these people believed in God and attended Synagogue or Temple on Saturdays. And yet they left everything behind, travelled mile after mile on foot, over hill and dale, to follow Jesus. Amazing!
And I think that’s it. We know in our hearts when someone’s for real – and there’s authenticity, a wonder, a healing, a truth that flows out of Jesus that you just don’t find amongst the tombstones of religious rules.
We aren’t called, you and I, to follow a religion or a denomination, or the rules that people make up and then guilt you over.
We’re called, you and I, to follow Jesus.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.