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Innocent by Association

Matthew 12:46-50 – While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him.  Someone, said to Him, Behold Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.  But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, Who is my mother and who are my brothers”  And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”  I remember going to an outside Christian concert in Muscle Shoals a few years ago and some of the top bands in the country were playing.  A friend of mine was a drummer for one of the groups playing there and when he saw me in the audience motioned for me to come to a guarded area behind the stage.  He said, “Come back to the bus after our set and we can get together a talk.”  The guard at the gate was listening to all this and my friend turned and said, “He’s with me.”  The guard proceeded to smile and acknowledge my validity as someone who was important too.  I went back out to the front area and listened to his band finish their song set and then proceeded to the “back” secure area for artists only.  As I approached the gate another guy saw me coming and moved to explain the rules, and at that time the guard who had met me earlier stepped up and said, “Hey, he’s good.  He can come in.”  The other guard immediately stepped back and opened the gate for me.  I was walking in the holy of holies…..The band area!”  My friend was in one of the busses and when he saw me came out to meet me and I went on their bus.  It was a “cool” thing to be acknowledged as being “with the band.”  Why?  Because they were famous!  I was part of the group, in so many words.  I was a groupie with a security pass!!  It wasn’t who I was, but who I knew that made this all happen.  I liked the feeling though and felt like I had credibility because I knew one of the band members.  Others saw me and thought, “Who is that guy?”  In reality I was a nobody, who did not play in the band or was not a part of doing anything to be a part of the fame they had acquired.  I just knew someone “in the band.”  Had the guard just let anybody come in the gate, it would have minimized my credibility, by raising everyone else’s.  The bar would have been lowered and taken some of the fame out of the whole thing.  Bummer!!  

We all want to be famous to a certain extent.  To feel the rush of those who are in the spotlight, and feel the fame of those who are thought to be famous.  When someone is in the spotlight for their accomplishments everyone runs to them.  But what about when they are in the spotlight for something that is thought to be bad.  No one wants to be around them.  That kind of fame runs their friends off at every level.  It was really this way with Jesus.  Oh, when He was healing the sick and doing other miracles and stating that He was the Son of God, Jesus had plenty of people wanting to ride His Fame Train.  It all changed though when they saw that this train was coming into persecution station and they were all a part of it.  Symbolically, Jesus accepting us will be the same way as when I went behind the gate because I knew the guy in the band.  Jesus will be at the gate and telling the guard, “he’s with Me” and that will be a great time for those who have accepted Him.  That’s for when we die, but what about in the meantime?  Jesus mother and brothers acknowledged they knew Him, even though His teachings had started to alienate some people, they still claimed Him.  He really went “big picture” on the crowd when He said, “You are my family, not just my mother and brothers.  You all are my mother and sister and brothers.”  Jesus gave credence to all who were following him and associated with all of them and us as family.  He didn’t lower the bar for the few though.  He actually raised the bar for all.  There is an old statement made about friendships and it says, “Guilty by association.”  It means a person is guilty because he or she is associated with a person who is guilty.  For our forever family that statement means “innocent by association.”  The other statement takes those who are innocent and associates them with guilt.  The statement taken from Christ’ dying for us means those who are guilty are innocent because of of our relationship with Christ!  Thus, Innocent by Association.  Christ died that all may come to know Him as Lord and Savior and be a part of His family.   Christ knocked down the backstage fence and came out in the audience and associated with all of us and gave us the opportunity to associate with Him through His blood.  We are FAMILY!!!  In verse 50 Jesus makes a very strong statement  when He says, “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”  What does that mean?  Just what it says.  God sent Jesus to die for our sins and if we repent and give our life to Him, we are doing His Will.   It also means that our family tie with Him is above any other family tie we have in our life.  God’s family is preeminent.  When we accept Christ, we have that family tug that draws us closer to that family relationship.  We become associated more closely with the family of God and that family is where we feel at home.  The only thing is this family closeness ties us to Christ in the good and the bad.  Remember, Peter was out there in front during the good days and denying Christ 3 times during the tough days.  I know I have denied Christ before and it eats at me because He is family and I should not be ashamed at all.  The bond we have with Christ has it’s good days and bad days, but we should be willing to take both of them for family.  Years ago a high school girl in Columbine, Colorado was questioned as to whether she was part of this family or not by a guy holding a gun to her head.  She answered “yes” and was killed because of her association to Christ.  She was guilty to that killer by her association to Christ, but innocent eternally because of her family ties.  May we never deny Christ, and may we live a life that is vibrant and effective every day as we  lift up the Name of Jesus, in good times and in bad.  In the overall picture we must always remember that we are “Innocent by Association” and that is throughout eternity.  That is the BIG PICTURE and that picture is the one that counts.  Praise God He wasn’t ashamed of me, even in my sin.  Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  INNOCENT BY ASSOCIATION

The Pilgrimage continues…..

David Warren

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