Day 154 – Faith Without Deeds is Dead
On: April 3, 2015   |   By: admin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:27-28

What’s this all about?

Did Jesus foresee the fascination with Jesus’ mother that a significant part of His church would cling to for centuries … and lift their eyes to the correct focus? I don’t understand why those in the Catholic tradition pay so  much attention to the Virgin Mary, apparently at the expense of the One who died on the cross to be their Saviour. Everywhere I looked when visiting Rome, there was a statue or image of Mary. Was Jesus to be seen? I will ask someone I know if they can explain how this came about.

Meantime, Mark’s rendition of this story reveals that the woman’s comment was not random, as it appears to be in Luke’s gospel, but was prompted by the arrival of Jesus’s family. Marks reports: “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Jesus asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:33-35

James, one of Jesus’s brothers who was to become leader of the early Jerusalem church, probably had this scene in his mind when he was later to write in his letter: Someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. … As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:18,26

There we have it: true faith is not just about what we believe in our mind or feel in our hearts; it has to control our actions, or it is no more than a human idol. Is that a bit strong? Yes. But here’s Paul’s view: No immoral, impure or greedy person – such a person is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Ephesians 5:5

Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

Prayer:

Father God, keep me from idolatry of any form. Instead, keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. Amen

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