Scripture: Numbers 32-33, Mark 10

Observation/application

In Mark 10, Jesus is counter-cultural at every turn.

  • The culture allowed divorce for any reason (for men); Jesus said that in marriage, God makes two (a man and a woman) into one, and we’re not separate what God has joined together. 
  • The culture devalued children and thought them unworthy of adult attention; Jesus rebuked his disciples for thinking that way and invited the children to come to him.
  • The culture thought wealth was the sign of God’s blessing; Jesus said it is hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom, and challenged the young man to give his wealth away and follow him.
  • The culture valued power and authority over others.  “Not so with you,” Jesus said.  He valued humble service as the sign of real greatness.  
  • The culture considered a blind beggar unworthy of Jesus’ attention and hushed him; Jesus stopped and healed him.

Jesus wasn’t afraid to resist the cultural norms and stand clearly and boldly for what God said was right.  God’s values are often at odds with our cultural values.  “What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”  Luke 16:15.  Jesus wasn’t stating a universal, but He was making a point.  God’s values and ours are not always identical.  

Where are we more shaped by our culture’s values than God’s?  When we see that happening, we need to follow Jesus’ example and be fearlessly counter-cultural.

Prayer: Lord, I don’t want the world to squeeze me into it’s mold; I want you to shape me into Your image.  Help me identify my own cultural compromises and become like Jesus: fearlessly counter-cultural.