Jesus Jazz

Then Jesus went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” – Mark 3:20-35

#10 | Galveston Railroad Museum | August 2020

“You need to get Jesus into as much trouble as you can, keep him there for as long as you can, before finally resolving the tension with the sweet news of the Gospel.” This was the essence of a talk on preaching that used jazz as a metaphor. I love music. My natural bent is toward classical or Christian Contemporary. But once I learned this secret, I broadened my horizons to appreciate Jazz a bit more. Jazz is like that: getting into as much trouble as you can before finally resolving the song.” I love it when the chord resolves.

Play only octaves on the piano and you’ll be able to share a tune, but there will never be that sweet sense of resolve, and no anticipation of the dissonance fading: That’s uniformity. Play a simple tune, a hymn in four-part harmony, and most often the results will be pleasing. That’s unity. Harmony happens when the chords are bent, the notes are suspended but only for a time.

There is a time for each in life or in music. Not every note will resonate well with the others in the song. Not every situation we face will be in the category of “lines drawn for me in pleasant places.” But the perfect resolution of all things will come and it will be sweet indeed.

Satan’s reign is one of discord and accusation, sin and conflict that is never resolved. His is a house divided. It will fall. There will be no sweet resolution. He will implode under the weight of his own evil. Darkness has no power to generate light. Sin and evil cannot sustain themselves. Jesus is clear here: a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.

Jesus’ kingdom is a reign and rule of grace and peace, truth and righteousness. There may be moments, and even eras of discord and disharmony in our lives. Whether at home, work, or even at church, sin can fracture the beautiful harmony we have in Christ. That’s why we must make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). Disharmony within the body of Christ or in personal relationships is never a good thing. But we can work toward resolution into sweet harmony that God’s Holy Spirit provides. That’s something Satan cannot hope for. But it is our truest hope and a precious gift of God. That’s one jazz chord that will be beautifully and eternally resolved.

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