The Way DAY 21 - Jesus and Mr. Rogers

DAY 21 - Jesus and Mr. Rogers

Luke 5:27-32

Many of us remember Fred Rogers, his soothing voice teaching kids about gentleness and respect. Mr. Rogers made everyone feel safe and welcome in his neighborhood. How could anyone ever get mad at him?

Well, nobody gets mad at Mr. Rogers. Although Fred Rogers carried a Christ-like spirit, Jesus ticked off way more people. After all (spoiler alert!), Jesus was rejected and killed. Nobody gets mad at Mr. Rogers but plenty of people got mad at Jesus.

All that starts in Luke 5 just before this week’s story about Sabbath-day controversies. First, Jesus heals a leprous man by reaching out to touch the untouchable man. Second, Jesus forgives and heals a paralyzed man. Everyone asks, “Wait, how can he forgive someone? That’s God’s job! Blasphemy!” Third, Jesus invites a tax collector to be his disciple and then he eats with tax collectors! Tax collectors were seen as traitors who hurt their own people. Finally, Jesus defied fasting norms that everybody else followed. 

It sounds like Jesus is picking a fight. Maybe that’s fair, but Jesus isn’t in the same headspace that the Pharisees are. They follow Jesus, look for chances to trip him up, and get easily offended. Jesus takes a principled stand on his convictions. Yes, that provokes a strong response from people who disagree with him but provoking people just to irritate isn’t the point. Freedom is the point (remember his opening sermon in Luke 4?). Mercy is the point. 

Jesus has clarity about who he is and what he’s about: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Lk 5:32). Spiritual growth in the Way of Jesus means learning who we are in God’s eyes. That grows confidence and conviction. We’re able to take a principled stand, even if that provokes disagreement. We don’t do it to irritate but for the sake of integrity and for truthful witness. 

When have you voiced a conviction when you knew others would disagree? What was your motive?

Lord, give me confidence because I walk humbly by your side. Help me to stand by my convictions - and make sure my convictions are based on God’s way. Amen.
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