Take Up Our Masks and Follow Jesus

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, Common English Bible)

25 A legal expert stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to gain eternal life?”

26 Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”

27 He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

28 Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”

29 But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. 31 Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. 32 Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. 33 A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. 34 The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ 36 What do you think? Who do you think was a neighbor?

37 Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37, Common English Bible)

In 2000, I preached a revival at a friend’s church. He asked if I would visit a church member. I agreed.

We went to the man’s house and he led me to a large formal living room. The only furniture was a desk a few chairs and lots of utility shelves of food.

The room overflowed. He feared the Y2K apocalypse. My friends said the man had two more storage areas. He was scared and ready. So were others.

Recently, Ive read two posts about Christians wearing masks. Is it something we should do?

One post talked about the church’s relevance. It said, we don’t practice faith like the Bible instructs. He points to the Matthew verse above.

Just before that verse, Jesus predicts his death. Peter argues and Jesus tells the 12 to take up their crosses.

That first blogger says we should wear a masks as a way to carry our cross. If we aren’t willing to do so, he argues, we should admit our unwillingness to follow even Jesus’ simplest instructions.

The US population is 328,000,000 (Census Bureau). Assume 51 percent (Google) wear masks, we have 287,000,000 not wearing masks. Further, 71% (Pew Forum) of the population claims to be Christian. That means 82 million people who at least claim the faith who aren’t wearing masks. That is a huge difference.

Y2K guy was angry. He sought to care for himself and his family. Nothing is wrong with that. But God calls faithful people to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to give attention to the needs of creation. Perhaps one day we will learn to make this work.

In the last few days two state representatives from Illinois and Ohio. The Ohio representative needs to read and study Scripture. He said a mask would block God’s glory from shining to the world.

When Moses came down from the mountain, his face shined with the glory of God. People feared death by looking at God. Moses’ face scared them. What did Moses do? Put on a mask. Did Moses’ masked face prevent Israel from knowing Moses was God’s servant and their leader? If an omnipotent God’s glory cannot shine through a mask, it likely can’t be seen at all.

The Good Samaritan story says only one person stopped to help. He gave sacrificially. The Samaritan stopped to help a victim, took him back, housed, treated, and cared for the man. Y2K guy was all about himself. The Good Samaritan, saw the needs of another person.

The second blog I read in the past few days, the Rev. Dr. Ellis Orazco. He asks, “Would Jesus wear a mask?” His answer was yes, out of love and compassion for others. Shouldn’t we do likewise?

For the Christian, it should be about God first, others second, and then comes me. We forget that. Always pray first for the needs of others.

In the movie Pearl Harbor, two friends fight over a girl. It was about them. The girl, a nurse, was torn between the two. For all three, it was about them. Then the attack came. The friends worked together to make any difference. The scene shifts to the hospital. To make a difference the girl moved from her comfort zone. She put her finger into her patient’s wound, a rupture aorta. If she didn’t he would die. She saved that soldier.

Putting God and people ahead of ourselves matters. All of us can say to each other, it’s not about me and it’s not about you. So, take up your mask and follow Jesus.

Be blessed,

Seeking the Genuine,

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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