The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Higher Vs. Lower Standards

"If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the publicans (tax collectors) doing that? And if you greet only your brothers what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?" (Matt.5:46-47).

In 1976, Hanna Barbera, the cartoon guys, came up with a new series called The Laff-A-Lympics. There were a set of villainous characters in the cartoons called the Really, Really Rottens who did their devious best to confound the Scooby Doobies and Yogi Yahooies...This may be a stretch to get to my point, but are there groups of people in the world that we might classify as really, really rottens? There certainly were in Jesus' day. Lets see now.... The Jews disliked the pagans, the Gentiles, the Samaritans, and of course, those dreaded publicans or tax collectors. The Jews considered the publicans to be really, really rotten. It was bad enough that the Jews were under control of the Roman government itself, but to pay taxes was particularly galling. The Romans farmed out this tax collecting business to locals (Jews) within the province to exact. Needless to say, they were considered to be turncoats and thought to be unscrupulous. It is against this backdrop that Jesus teaches about a higher standard of living. Jesus told the people that even those really, really rotten publicans loved those who loved them. (Vs.46). What Jesus was trying to get across is that there is no real praise in this kind of love. You might want to read Lk.6:27-37 to get more insight. Here it is in a nutshell... Christians are supposed to display a love that separates them from the sinners. When the world can't tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys, there is something drastically wrong. Christ demands that we unselfishly do good, and tops it off with this; "Without expectation to get anything back..." (Lk.6:35). Let me finish with a story. There was a church member who was in need of a favor from some other church member, that said this; "I wish now I had invited them into my home, but I never thought I would need them for anything..." She was living on the same standard as the sinners... I find it most interesting that Jesus went to the really, really rottens... Why? Because they were the ones who needed help. Christian high standards are supposed to raise the lower standards of the world. How are we doing with this?

Have a wonderful day... Do good and give God the credit.... Love mark Phil.4:11

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