As I learn more about Him, I see no evidence that He cared about rigid external rules. Jesus was about radically transforming hearts, and you don’t do that through fear and punishment.
I spent a bunch of time over the weekend talking to a man who’s devoted most of his life to helping men overcome additions. When I asked what he’d learned he replied, “Punishment doesn’t work. You can’t change behavior through fear. The only thing that works, long-term, is love.”
Honestly, I don’t get why that’s so hard to get.
If you believe Jesus was who He said He was, then you believe He had the power to force everyone to conform. If He wanted rules and consequences, one snap of His fingers would have brought all the armies required to enforce compliance. I’ll bet a few well-placed lightning bolts would have whipped folks into shape fairly quickly.
This week we remember His choice to surrender. We acknowledge His decision to set aside power and control, to walk the path of service. We marvel at His willingness to wash His disciples’ feet.
We’ll gather on Easter and commemorate Jesus’ example of sacrificial service which demonstrates that His way didn’t involve control.
There’s no way to leave Easter with a single impression. But my friend’s comment focused my attention on the principle that guided Jesus’ life. He was never about punishments, power, coercion, fear or rules.
Love is what works.