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Screwtape slithers again (4)

Some people came to Jesus. They said to him, “John’s disciples are fasting. The disciples of the Pharisees are also fasting. But your disciples are not. Why aren’t they?” (Mark 2: 18)
 
Screwtape, a senior demon, continues to advise his nephew, a junior demon on how to keep people away from Jesus Christ. Screwtape began in 1942, the creation of C S Lewis, at that time an Oxford University Professor.

Today Screwtape has important advice. My dear nephew, I gather from our earlier email exchanges that the people you’re devoting your life to influencing away from Jesus are to read the third page of Mark’s biography of him. You need to be well prepared. This is what they may read – assuming, as I very much regret, that you will have failed to stop them. 

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the groom go without eating while he is with them? They will not fast as long as he is with them. But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. On that day they will go without eating.” 

You and I, dear nephew, know only too well what this means. The bridegroom was there. This terrible thing for us was only the start of our downfall. What you must do, my dear nephew, is to get those you’re watching over to argue about fasting or about religion or about church.

 
Busy them with discussion about these trivia. That way they’ll never ever meet the real Jesus, our great enemy. I warn you now, my dear nephew, because the problem occurs again with Jesus in Mark’s Gospel. 

‘Readers are advised to remember that the devil is a liar.’ (C S Lewis, Oxford Professor, The Screwtape Letters, 1942)
Mark wrote this. One Sabbath day Jesus was walking with his disciples through the grainfields. The disciples began to break off some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look! It is against the Law to do this on the Sabbath. Why are your disciples doing it?” Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath day was made for man. Man was not made for the Sabbath day. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” 

Screwtape continued. You must never allow your people to think about him being Lord of the Sabbath. That would lead them to wonder about what else he’s Lord of. Beware! Don’t allow them to connect him as both the bridegroom and Lord of the Sabbath. 

Start an argument about the Sabbath being a Saturday not a Sunday. Provoke them to argue about keeping the Sabbath. They must never be allowed to know who he really is.

Beware most of all what comes next in Mark’s awful book. The people you’re watching over to keep them away from Jesus will read this. 

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue. A man with a weak and twisted hand was there. Some Pharisees were trying to find fault with Jesus. They watched him closely. They wanted to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath day. Jesus spoke to the man with the weak and twisted hand. “Stand up in front of everyone,” he said. 

Then Jesus asked them, “What does the Law say we should do on the Sabbath day? Should we do good? Or should we do evil? Should we save life? Or should we kill?” But no one answered. Jesus looked around at them in anger. He was very upset because their hearts were stubborn. Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was as good as new.

 
Your uncle Screwtape knows how many have followed Jesus because they’ve realised their weakness and twistedness and turn to him for help. The only way to deal with this is to subtly – subtly attack the messenger. Throw doubt on Mark the writer. Did he exist? If he did, was he biased? Or mistaken? 
‘It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.’ (“Screwtape” in The Screwtape Letters, 1942)
Make your people believe that it’s only today’s stuff that matters. Tell your people we all know too much today to be taken in by an old biography. Listen to your uncle Screwtape, my dear nephew. We demand results from you.  
 
Sinner Syvret

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