"Brethren, I have written a letter unto you" (Hebrews 13:22).

Archived Devotionals

December 28, 2020

Blessed - Then Immediately Disobedient!

My Dear Friend,

      Mark 1:40-45 is a shocker. It tells us that after Christ healed a man of leprosy - the dreaded AIDS or cancer of his times - the same man "immediately" went out and disobeyed his Healer. How did this unfold?

     Jesus forbade this healed leper to talk about his healing because He didn’t want too much publicity too quickly. Why? Their politically oppressed society was rife with insurrectionist rumblings. News of a miracle worker rising among them might move many disgruntled Jews to view Jesus as a political and military Messiah under whose leadership they could rise and drive out their Roman rulers (see John 6:15). This in turn would almost surely prompt the Romans to move against Jesus’ followers, thus interrupting His ministry of kingdom mercies with a clash with Roman legions.

     Instead Jesus sternly charged the healed leper only to "show thyself to the [Jewish] priest" and, according to Mosaic law, be officially reinstated into the Jewish community and worship. This would serve several key purposes that Jesus desired. It would authenticate the man's healing, validate Jesus' ministry, show His submission to God's law (though not to Pharisaic traditions), and win more devout Jews to Him. But all this fell through because the delivered man proved to be a disobedient man.

     Instead of going to the priest as Jesus strictly charged him, he went to the press. And quickly. He immediately began to “publish it much” and “spread abroad the matter” (v. 45). As a result, the buzz about Jesus' miracle ministry was so great throughout Galilee that Jesus couldn't visit all the "next towns" He had planned to visit and minister to all their needy thousands He had hoped to bless (v. 38). Instead, He was forced to remain in the countryside, and seekers - no doubt many less than He had originally hoped for - came out to Him "from every quarter" (v. 45). This wasn't the only such incident.

     John describes another man who, after receiving a healing of an unspecified thirty-eight-year-old infirmity, also immediately disobeyed Christ. In his case, the man betrayed Jesus' name to His enemies, causing persecution that, again, interrupted and decreased His ministry outreach (John 5:10-16)!

     This disappointing pattern, blessed - then immediately disobedient, is repeated daily all over the world as sinners whom Christ saves, heals, or delivers, and Christians whom He blesses, quickly revert to some form of disobedience. Why? He changed their troubling conditions but they didn't change their true character. Thus, they were blessed but unchanged, given grace but still rebellious and self-centered. Jesus loved them deeply, but let there be no doubt: they deeply disappointed Him.

     Here is New Testament proof that receiving miracles from Christ is no evidence we are specially godly or approved of Him. These mercies are grace given, not righteousness driven.

     This also suggests, though it doesn't prove, that Satan loves to tempt us to disobey Christ's Word or guidance immediately after He blesses us so that we, too, will disappoint Christ, hinder His work in our lives, churches, and cities, and delight Satan! Hmm. Christ disappointed, His ministry hindered, Satan delighted - that doesn't sound very good, does it?

     Let us, therefore, watch ourselves and humbly praise and worship Christ over every blessing we receive. This gratitude will help insulate us from the ingratitude of disobeying our Blesser. Also, with these biblical examples in mind, let us consciously refuse to disobey the One who has just blessed us, and who "daily loadeth us with benefits" (Psalm 68:19).

     If we don't follow these instructions, we may find ourselves going the way of the ungrateful souls highlighted above. If we do follow them, our post-blessing obedience will reverse the adverse consequences of the leper's post-blessing disobedience. Christ's work will be unhindered - and thus flow like a river in our lives, ministries, and churches. He will be delighted with us - and thus draw nearer with more of His Spirit and Word. And Satan will be disappointed - and thus turn away from us for a season! Hmm. That sounds much better!

     And in addition to all this, every time Jesus improves our troubling conditions we will improve our true characters.

Blessed, and obedient,

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261