Which do you want first!
Good morning brothers and sisters.
Have you found yourself listening to someone giving you important news who started out by saying, “I have something to tell you – do you want the good news first or the bad?!”
The gospel reading today is one of those times!
In this case Jesus gives us the bad news first. In verses 38-40 He talks about the sort of people God hates. These are people God will punish most severely! These are the people who want to look religious, and who think they are fooling people and even more stupidly, they think they are fooling God or maybe they think that He doesn't exist!
God isn't fooled and He does exist.
The bible tells us in Hebrews 11, verse 6, that anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Those who don't believe God exists are fooling themselves and will not get the rewards or blessings that God has stored up for true believers.
Did you know that there are over three hundred prophesies and specifications that were predicted in advance to apply to Jesus and that He fulfilled all of them? Did you know that the odds of that happening by chance were calculated to be 100,000 times more than the number of atoms in the universe to 1?
And people think they can fool that God? In Psalm 2, verses 1-4 God talks about looking down on those people who think they can make their little plans against Him like He is nothing, and He just laughs at them! That's bad news - for them; but not for His people!
Then Jesus goes on to talk about the good news!
In Mark 12, verses 41-44 Jesus bigs-up a widow who gave what everyone would have seen to be a very small offering into God's house.
What Jesus tells us is that God sees what we offer to Him and He sees and as Hebrews 11, verse 6 pointed out He will reward the sacrifices of those who seek after Him!
The people in the first part of the gospel reading only sought their own glory; but God will reward those who are interested in His glory!
That widow put her little savings into God's hands and God noticed. God knew every hair on her head and every move that she made.
In Matthew 10, verse 42 Jesus tells us that anyone who give even a cup of water to one of His disciples will be rewarded.
Giving money into the church or synagogue in Jesus' day was giving to support God's disciples through outreach, etc. Jesus tells us that this is noticed by God and even more importantly the motivation behind the giving is noted by God! Do we love Him and give because of our appreciation of what He has done.
But Jesus says the physical things that we do towards His disciples is noticed by God. How do we treat Jesus' disciple. Do we try to harm them, belittle them, bring them down; or do we build them up and support them. Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that He's watching our actions towards other brethren and will judge us accordingly.
But this is good news!
It means that we can know how God sees us, since we know how we treat each other. It means that our standing before God, as a follower or a pretender, is obvious to Him and to us, and therefore it's within our ability to correct our course.
It also means that we can enter into His throne room with clear consciences and know that our prayers will be answered, because He has observed our good works towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We can know that because we honour our spouses our prayers will not be hindered.
We can know that as we mature in becoming Christ-like nothing good will be impossible to us in this world, because with God nothing is impossible!
And in God's wonderful world to come, we will enjoy everlasting life.
What better reward can you have for loving the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength, and loving your neighbour as your self!