By Larry Ray Hafley
Our Lord was an exceptionally practical man. He encountered diverse and complex situations. He faced complicated questions. He met both with practical actions and answers.
When the disciples quarreled over who should be the greatest in the kingdom, Jesus “took a child, and set him in the midst of them” (Mk. 9:36). There was no confusing philosophy, no theoretical discourse. He did not demean the disciples and describe his greatness and power, which he surely could have done. He did not say, “I will be King of kings, and you will be lowly servants, if you are lucky.” No, he rather taught them the true character of citizenship in the heavenly kingdom (Lk. 22:27; Matt. 18:1-5; 20:20-28). Plain, practical and to the point; that was the method of the Master.
When the scribes and Pharisees questioned his association “with publicans and sinners” (Lk. 5:30), Jesus compared his work to that of a physician. A doctor goes among the sick, not because he is sick, but in order to heal. Likewise, he went among sinners, not because he was a sinner, as they implied, but in order to save them. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Clear, concise, practical-, that was Jesus the Christ.
When the disciples of Jesus were challenged about their failure to fast, the silent charge was that they were not as devout as the disciples of John and of the Pharisees who did fast. This neglect of human tradition made Jesus’ disciples appear apathetic toward Divine truth and piety. Jesus did not cite another attribute of his disciples to make them seem more spiritual. Rather, he made a specific comparison. Bridal parties do not fast while the groom is present; no, they rejoice! However, when the groom leaves, then they fast (Mk. 2:18-20). Fasting as a formality has no inherent value. It may even diminish one’s ability to appreciate the fellowship of Deity. Precise and practical judgment; that was our Lord’s manner.
The gospel accounts of the Savior’s life are filled with evidence and examples of the most practical man who ever lived. Can you think of a few cases? The study will enrich and reward you.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 7, p. 199
April 6, 1989