In the previous section Jesus healed a man at had him follow the Mosaic law by going to the religious leadership of the day. This section tells a very different story. Jesus is teaching with a large crowd including the religious leaders of the day. Before he heals a man he forgives his sins. This is way outside of the Mosaic law. Forgiveness of sins involved sacrifice of animals and was done via the high priest at the temple. Jesus merely spoke and forgiveness was granted. We quickly see Jesus changing the established religious rules.
"Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus" (v5). After this grand encouragement Paul goes on to describe what he sees the essence of Jesus being and therefore what should be in our minds. The strength of Jesus came in what he gave up to live among us. The NRSV tells us that Jesus did not exploit the fact that he was God. I wonder how often we exploit our relationship with God? We try to gain something that is not at all about following God? Jesus had every right to grasp all that God deserved, yet he did not for our sake. We have some rightful claims because of our relationship with Jesus, but do we exploit them or do we function like Christ himself?
Our own attempt to keep the scriptures as the rule of our lives. The pain associated with our own broken and fallen actions can be high. This helps us to be thankful for the grace and love of God seen through Jesus. Even more difficult is when we see others breaking ranks with the commands and teachings of God. It is easy to get angry, or offer judgment, when the deepest response is sadness. Why sadness? We have a record of what happens when the people of God do not live according to the call of God through the teachings of God. The Bible is an almost endless account of people who push away the leading of God.
2 Kings 8-9
Throughout the books of Kings we get real familiar with the phrase, the did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. King after king we find following their own desires and leading the people astray. God sends prophet after prophet in an attempt to call the people back to God, but the rate of success is very low. This section of scripture continues in that line. Once in a great while we come across a king who does what is right in the eyes of the Lord. Still the pattern kicks back in. It seems as though we are seeing the very reason God warned against a human king come into play.