Whoa, it's cold out there! Somehow the day of the vernal equinox chose instead to show a symptom of winter. We didn't get a lot of snow and the sun is shining this morning, I suspect spring will once again show up in the next few days. We look at the sun this morning and the longer days and say, "Spring!" We look at the temperature and the snow and wonder when winter will go away. In the same manner, Jesus came into the darkness as a great light. We look to the Son and know that a new day will soon dawn in human affairs. Some will go to their eternal reward and others to the second death. However, we can also look at the situation in the world and wonder if the Messiah really came to Earth back in the day.
Of course, the second part gives the scoffers all the ammunition they need to laugh scornfully at those who will believe. We look to the dawn, the scoffers look at the night all around them. Jesus told us plainly that many living in darkness would love the darkness and reject the light. How strong is their preference for the darkness?
I have been reading some background on cults as a matter of research. There are some signs that will appear sooner or later in a cult, sex and money. You know the playbook by now; give all your money to the person or organization, and give up sex except in the case of certain 'divine' activities or persons. It seems that in the case of each cult, the leader often starts out well and with good intentions. However, at some point there seems to be no check to the power that comes from having a bunch of folks worshipping that same leader and then things go downhill for the followers.
Another thing that the cults seem to have in common is the name change, often several, of the cult leader. Many times that name ends up being "Jesus" or "Messiah". The funny thing to us is that the real Jesus warned us that this would happen. Jesus told us plainly that everyone would know without a doubt when His glorious appearing occurs. However, he also told us that many would run after every rumor of his second coming, no matter how far-fetched! Looking at cults from the comfortable distance of a book, one cannot help but shake the head over some of the lengths that people have gone in pursuit of a rumored messiah. And then there is something they do that all of us desire at some point... relief from responsibility.
You and I have felt at some point, probably even now, the burden of responsibility. Jesus tells us that his yoke is light, but we want to hold on to that burden of our responsibility, whatever it may be. The cults offer to take this responsibility from their members. Give us all your possessions and money, give us your body and time, and we will not only save you, but make all your daily decisions as well - 'poof' - freedom from responsibility!
One decision cannot be set aside though: believe in Jesus or reject Him. If you or I leave that decision up to someone else, we are sorry fools indeed. That one decision has eternal consequences and we dare not leave it up to someone else. What is our responsibility after this decision is made? If you decide to reject Jesus, then your responsibility is to save yourself... good luck with that. If you decide to believe in Jesus, then He takes responsibility for salvation and we don't have to worry about it. So don't worry about it!
Love your neighbor in prayer today,