Jesus made a point of telling his first disciples, eleven longshoremen and a money man who went bad, that his yoke was easy and his burden was light.
But then again he did mandate, very clearly, from his own lips, two ordinances:
1) His memorial supper (Luke22,19) and;
2) discipling-baptizing adult folks all across the world. (Matthew28.19).
This first ordinance was the last thing he said and did in the physical flesh. The second was the last thing he said before he ascended to heaven.
But many of us have found our own escape clauses for these two ordinances, like it's everbody's-case-gets-dismissed-day in traffic court.
"I don't need adult baptism because Luther said 'faith alone.' "
"I don't need it because the Vatican said Infant baptism is fine."
"I don't need the table because it's just about symbols."
And so on.
Likewise, before he died, while travailing in the garden of Getsemane on the eve of his crucifiction, Jesus asked his first disciples to keep watch with him for one hour (Matthew26,40).
They fell asleep right away.
He also told us to call no man 'father', which includes 'Pastor', 'My Lord', 'Reverend', 'Your this or that', 'my this or that', 'First Lady' and the like (Matthew23,9). But folks have been tripping over themselves in the church, and outside it too, for almost 2000 years currying the political favor of church people.
Two ordinances, a caution about watching (Matthew25,13), and a prohibition against honorifics.
Compared with the keeping 1300 proscriptions of the Mosaic law, this doesn't seem like much.
Sounds pretty reasonable.
No wonder He said His yoke is easy.
Now I don't exactly know how Jesus feels about how we have manipulated and minimized his two ordinances, his caution, and that simple prohibition.
But I sort of have an idea.
Because one time a long time ago I went overseas to study for a few months and everyone around me gladly agreed that they would not use my foreign car when I was gone. My one ordinance- just let my car sit. They all agreed, and I had my good reasons, however illogical and burdensome they might have seemed.
But when I came back- there it was- with the exhaust system all burned up.
So let us contemplate our Lord Jesus up there in heaven, watching our every disobedient move and hearing our every idle word about these two ordinances.
I wonder what He's thinking? Perhaps something like:
"Now I'm glad some of them know that in me mercy and justice meet, but I gave them only two ordinances and one half of the flock totally and quickly changed them both to suit themselves, and then later the other half came along and has a lot of words for why they don't really matter."
On a similar note- this is a pop quiz- which of the three phrases most likely begins a statement regarding both baptism and the Lord's Supper that will lead us into heaven and the kingdom of God:
A. "Luther says";
B. "The Vatican says";
C. "Jesus says?"
Finally, please note I live close to Mixville Pond and the Naugatuck River, and after your baptism, you might be hungry for Spiritual food and drink (1Corinthians10,3-4) from the Lord's table.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...