I am not sure if it is our American nature with its emphasis on individualism or if it just human nature in rebellion to God, but most of us really hate to be told what to do. I am a “good” or “bad” example of his depending on how you look at it. If I don’t agree with a law I follow it grudgingly and while I am no hardened criminal I have to admit to going over the speed limit or ignoring certain traffic signs now and again.
We treat God’s Word much the same way. We grudgingly keep commandments we would rather break and often break them outright. Perhaps we do so for the same reason I sometimes go over the speed limit – there is not immediate consequence unless a cop is hiding in the weeds.
Because God does not slap us on the wrist the moment we sin we somehow see his authority in the abstract. It is something we believe has no instant effect. In hindsight we often see this not to be true and often the cumulative effect is worse than a good whack on the hand would have been. Such is free will.
In this week’s gospel reading, Jesus reminds us about the authority of God vested in Him. He also reminds us that while we often break the law or obey it grudgingly we are not outside of the Father’s love. No matter where we are or how far we have strayed or disobeyed there is a wideness in God’s mercy and because of the authority given to Jesus, we have hope.
Like the son in the parable who said he would not go to work in the vineyard but relented, we too are counted as righteous when we refrain from our disobedience, turn to Christ and do the will of our Heavenly Father.
Loving and gracious Father in Heaven, forgive my disobedience. Help me to respect your authority and do your will by the power of your Holy Spirit. AMEN.