I once heard a preacher make light of his fellow preachers for tossing around words like "must" and "have to." I didn't agree with him, for the Bible clearly uses such words. But the longer his barb has hung in my mind, the more I think I understand what he meant. We do toss those words around a little too lightly. They are designed to be heavy words.
The word "must" first appears in the New Testament in Matthew 16:21 as Jesus began warning the disciples of His impending crucifixion.
In Luke 4:43 Jesus issues the "must" of responsibility: "I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose."
Luke also records for us a transaction that lets us know that sometimes the needs of others' "musts" came into His scope: "When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, 'Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house'" (Luke 19:5).
On two occasions Jesus shows us the importance of obedience to the scriptures with the "musts" that He issues (Luke 22:37; 24:44).
And the words of necessity are clear from the lips of the Lord when it comes to worshiping His Father (John 4:24).
In John 9:4 Jesus teaches says: "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work."
Of course we know that greatest question ever asked involves a "must," "What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). But even after that question has been answered and followed correctly, there are still some "musts" for the Christian.
For a culture that prides its "postmodern" self in not accepting being "told" what it has to do, there are "musts" for any person who would be a follower of Christ. Among those things clearly pointed out by Christ involve: denying self and taking up one's cross responsibilities (Luke 4:43), inconveniencing ourselves to meet the needs of others (Luke 19:5), and being involved in the work of God (John 9:4-5).
I didn't ask it lightly: What must you do?
- Dale Jenkins; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com