The other day a friend of mine asked a very timely question online: Would Jesus and the disciples wear masks issued by the Roman Authorities? If you believe that they would have, do you think that they would wear the masks in Synagogue while they read the Torah and worshipped?
I loved the question because he wasn’t asking, What is your opinion about mask-wearing, but instead, does the bible speak to mask-wearing. We have to look to the bible and not our ‘sense’ or ‘feelings’ for direction. Not surprisingly, many gave their opinions in online comments, some with scripture reference, some without.
Several said that God has given us authority, so we do not have to obey other authorities. One said this: “Peter and the other apostles answered, ‘We must obey God, not men’” (Acts 5:29). But friends, this is not a valid answer, because Peter was being told to disobey God. Being asked to wear a mask to protect others, is not even close to being threatened with bodily harm for sharing your faith.
What about, “not feeling right in my spirit”? We don’t get to weigh in our spirits what laws we will obey and which ones we don’t. No one can light a cigarette in a restaurant and tell the owner, the ban on indoor smoking just didn’t sit well in their spirit. Friends, we have the word of God; and while it doesn’t give us specific details for every current event, it does give us a guide on how to respond beyond what we feel in our spirits.
Here is my response with a few additions: Jesus taught us to obey earthly authorities in matters where they have authority. Public safety is not a matter for the Church but the state. The Church, as a witness, should support the state in such matters. Whether right or wrong, contrary to what some have posted about the authority of the believer, God has given the government this authority. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
Listen to me, believer—God has established that authority. Your response in such matters is to obey. Anything else, is rebellion to God and His established authorities. Sure you can protest and speak out, if you disagree—the beauty of democracy—but you should obey. God said that. You think I am being too strong? “Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:2)
Believers are fighting over their rights and Jesus is saying, just do whatever they ask. I find it interesting that people who do very little sharing of their faith on a day to day basis, are suddenly screaming that the government wants to silence them. We have already silenced ourselves. I would to God that we were as vocal over trying to rescue people from hell as we are over exposing the great mask conspiracy.
Our calling is not to fight for our rights but walk in love. What if I am asymptomatic and have coronavirus? Is it love for me to walk around putting others at risk? If course not. My job is to share His message and not fret about minor issues like mask wearing (which might actually prolong the lives of the people I’m trying to reach!)
So, and let me be blunt, if you are willing to take a stand on the mask issue, by not wearing one, but you are not seeking to bring people to Jesus, your priorities are out of wack. Sorry. But that is just good old fashioned bible truth. Between the racial tensions and the virus, the Church should be front and center, seeking to reach people for Jesus. Instead we’re on Facebook arguing over whether or not wearing a mask is a violation of our biblical freedoms—even the mark of the beast.
So yes, I do believe that if the Roman authorities asked their citizens, including Jesus and the disciples, to wear masks to protect others in the midst of a plague, they would absolutely obey. If they obeyed the authorities in other areas, such as unbearable taxes and carrying stuff for Roman soldiers, why would they rebel in something so minor?
We have to get back to the task at hand, our sacred commission of sharing His message.