Passover and Easter Morning
Are all sins are the same? Paul said, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” So it looks like any sin will send us down, will separate us from God.
However, do we in daily life craft a hierarchical view of sin? Consider these lists.
The Not So Bad
- Participating in an off color joke with our off color friends.
- Making up an excuse for being late when we actually just over slept.
The Really Bad
- Stealing from our employer.
- Abusive behaviors, especially towards women and children.
We wink at inappropriate jokes but rage at the embezzler. We abhor spousal abuse but chuckle at the made up excuses for being late. Our sense of right and wrong is deeply influenced by our ethics and value system. Lying about being late and lying about having an affair feels different, yet, both are lies. What did Jesus say about sin?
Jesus Our Messiah
Our Rabbi said that things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to the person who leads others into sin. He said it would be better to have a millstone tied around the neck and thrown into the sea. My question is: better than what? The answer is found in the word woe,”Woe to the one who causes others to sin.” The word woe means great sorrow.
Leading others into sin results in great sorrow for judgment is about to fall on the leader. In fact, if given the choice, the millstone would be a far better option.
In Jesus’s day, people believed demons came from the under world, rising up through water. Which made the prospect of being thrown into the sea with a millstone even more frightening. Imagine being pulled down to the demonic realm. However, the guilty person would still choose the millstone and demons over the wrath God’s judgement, if given the choice.
“So watch yourselves,” Jesus said.
Jesus willingly sacrificed himself for the sins we commit. But those who intentionally lead others into sin, especially the young believers, well, he felt different about them.
Was the millstone just hyperbole, exaggerating for effect? Maybe? A withdrawing of love, mercy, and grace seems inconsistent with Jesus. But however you understand it, be sure to grasp that leading others into sin was, for Jesus, an unforgivable abomination.
So let’s be extra careful. I’m not sure if God’s grace has limits, but Jesus for sure wanted us to understand that leading others into sin is terribly offensive to him.
So let’s watch ourselves, carefully.