Monday, May 23, 2016

Dealing with unclean spirits, part 8: Blessing of obedience

While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed." But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." (Luke 11:27-28 NASB)

In the midst of Jesus' teaching, a woman shouted out a word of commendation for His mother. "Blessed is your mother who bore you". Jesus replied with a phrase that is translated by NASB as "on the contrary" but might be better written as "yes, but". The word here is one that connects the two phrases and gives greater importance to the second. It's important to bless your mother. It's more important to obey God.

Jesus was not disagreeing about His mother but was moving the woman's attention from the physical to the spiritual. This woman had heard His words and cried out in admiration. Jesus agreed that His mother was blessed above all women, but He said there was an even greater blessing for those who not only hear the word of God but also obey it. 

When I read that, it's almost too much to imagine. The Virgin Mary was chosen by God, entrusted with His only Son, and honored by bearing and rearing the Holy One. One of Jesus' last acts on the cross was to make certain that someone would care for His mother after His death. He loved His mother. 

Despite the blessing Mary received, those who hear the word of God and obey it receive an even greater blessing. It's worth it to obey. 

Obedience is not always easy. I don't always like doing what God says. Praying for my enemies, doing good to those who curse me are not my favorite instructions, but I've been blessed every time I've obeyed. I've watched God turn enemies to friends and bless me when I've prayed that He'd bless them, and I've marveled every time. It makes no sense in the natural, but in the spiritual realm, it reaps big rewards.

It's not enough to read the Word of God, nor to hear the Word of God. What Jesus asks of us is that we obey the Word of God. It's often harder than I think, but it's also a greater blessing than I could possibly imagine.  Today, commit to obey the Scripture you know. Don't just read it, do it!