Day 80: March 21, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 12:22-37 Read Online
Mark 3:20-30 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters.

—Matthew 12:30

With Him or Against Him?
by Mike Harland, Member of Brentwood Baptist Campus

It’s one thing to not be on someone’s team. But it’s another thing altogether to be against someone, right? Especially if that someone is the Lord Jesus. But that’s exactly what this passage is about. Look closely.

In the normal course of Jesus’ day, we find Him touching and healing people of all kinds of maladies and afflictions. Unlike the religious leaders of the day, Jesus wasn’t just leading a cause—He was on a mission.

He helped people from all walks of life and with every kind of problem. And, as was often the case, the folks that couldn’t accept Jesus the Life-changer were the very ones who were supposed to represent the God that Jesus was calling on in power. It was quite a paradox. It still is.

Because they couldn’t stop Him, they were, in the words of a worn-out sports cliché, only trying to contain Him. And the only way they could think of was to cast doubt on which team Jesus was playing for.

Up to this point, this story doesn’t bother me that much. The truth is, if you’re asking me to pick sides, I’m going to go with Jesus every time. After all, I’ve read the end of the book and He wins!

The part that bothers me is when Jesus explains how you can tell which side people are fighting for—and it’s not just the ones who are obviously for the other side. No, Jesus cuts right to the heart. He explains that those who aren’t working alongside Him in gathering His flock are the ones working against Him.

So, do you know what you have to do to be against Jesus? Nothing—absolutely nothing at all.

The next time you find yourself really proud that you’re not like those folks who aren’t Christian—that you’re on the right side and will win in the end—make sure you remember what Jesus said: “Anyone who does not gather with me, scatters.”

Reflection Questions

  1. The Bible tells us there are two kingdoms in this world—Darkness and Light.  How do you see this battle play out every day? At work? In your neighborhood?
  2. Which character in this story do you most identify with? The healed man? The Pharisee? Jesus’ disciples? All of them?
  3. Jesus said those who weren’t with Him were against Him. Does your walk with Christ reflect clearly that you’re part of His kingdom? Are you engaged in the “gathering” that Jesus is talking about here?
  4. Is your faith only marked by what you say and rarely marked by what you’re doing?
  5. Do you live the kind of life that causes those who live for the kingdom of darkness to question whether or not you’re “out of your mind?”

About the Author

Mike Harland

Originally from Corinth, Mississippi, Mike grew up playing sports and his guitar, and writing and singing songs. After he graduated from Delta State University, where he majored in music and played baseball, Mike earned his Master of Church Music degree at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

For 25 years, Mike served in churches as a worship pastor across Mississippi and Texas. Along the way, songwriting became an important part of his life’s work. His songs have been recorded by Christian artists and arranged for church choirs. He has more than 200 published works that include a number of musicals and collections.

In 2005, LifeWay Christian Resources asked Mike to lead the development of music and worship materials for churches as Director of LifeWay Worship. In this role, he writes songs and articles, and he speaks about worship across the U.S. and around the world.

In 2008, Mike was the Editor of a new hymnal for Baptists. He also co-authored the book and Bible study Seven Words of Worship with Christian Music industry veteran Stan Moser. Later, in 2011, New Orleans Seminary awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Mike is married to Teresa and they live in Franklin, Tennessee with their youngest son John. They’ve been members of Brentwood Baptist since 2005.