Missing The Point – Jesus & The Pharisees
By Steph Nickel
Have you ever been guilty of missing the point? When it came to understanding who Jesus was, the Pharisees certainly failed to make the right judgement. Steph shows that it is simply impossible to please some people but we should examine ourselves before judging others.
There’s No Pleasing Some People
Matthew 11:18-19 (ESV) says,
“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
How do I know, for sure? In the past, I’ve found myself very judgmental and quite contrary. Thankfully, the Lord has worked on me in this area—and in many others—and this is far less true than it used to be. But I do have to be on the lookout—as others should be. Sometimes we’re more judgmental than we care to admit.
People Accused Jesus
The same people who accused Jesus of wrongdoing because He spent time with “tax collectors and sinners” also accused John of wrongdoing because of his solitary lifestyle. The political and religious leaders of the Jesus’ time didn’t recognize truth when it was right in front of them. It was as if they were really the ones who were blind and deaf.
These realities still hold true today. Two people can see the very same evidence and come to two completely different conclusions. And when it comes to matters of faith . . . that is certainly the case.
Remember what evidence Jesus offered John when asked if He was the promised Messiah? He reminded him that the blind saw, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, and the dead were raised to life. The Lord also pointed out that the poor were told the good news. All these things were clear indicators that Jesus was the Saviour, the Redeemer, the Messiah.
21st Century Disbelief
In the 21st century it is common for unbelievers to say that these things never happened. That the miracles are nothing more than stories, fairytales handed down through the ages. But it’s interesting to note that the leaders of Jesus’ time didn’t deny the miracles.
We see one evidence of this in Matthew 12:9-13, which says, “He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.”
And the Pharisees response? We read about it in the next verse: “But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.”
Does that make you shake your head like it does me?
Missing The Point
They didn’t deny the miracle. Instead, they tried to trip Jesus up on a legality. They saw the evidence; yet they missed the point entirely. They were more concerned about their position and power. They weren’t really interested in the well-being of the people or the fulfilment of the Scriptures they claimed to uphold.
But these leaders weren’t the only ones who needed a different outlook. We must be careful not to make the same mistakes they did, judging others from our limited perspective—sometimes from our selfish perspective.
Let’s think of how that can apply today. The Scriptures are the measuring rod we should use. Though the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought they knew the Scriptures, they clearly didn’t understand them as God intended. This should reinforce the necessity of studying God’s Word regularly and prayerfully.
We must be careful not to judge according to a sense of self-righteousness. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t examine our own behaviour and the behaviour of others from a biblical perspective. We must do so—and teach our children to do so as well. It is the only way we’ll be able to recognize when others are truly leading us astray and when we might inadvertently be leading others astray as well.
There will be times it is clear that God’s commands are being disregarded, that His rules are being broken. But the Bible teaches us what we should do in those cases as well. Our job is never to sit back, pronounce judgment, and do nothing to help those trapped in sin.
We Can Trust God
If we see someone walking toward a cliff, we must do all we can to encourage them, to plead with them, to change direction. And we will never do so if we stand around yelling at them, telling them how foolish they are. Plus, we must be very careful while we’re busy judging and criticizing others, that we’re not headed straight for a cliff ourselves.
We can trust God 100 percent, as I’ve often said before. And because we can, I’ve often prayed for ears to hear and eyes to see. I can make this request—and so can you—with full confidence that if I honestly want to recognize truth and see things from God’s perspective, He will answer this prayer.
Will you stop making excuses and stop blaming others and humbly come before the Lord and ask Him to reveal truth to you this day? Will you teach your family to do so as well?
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Pharisees Conspire Against Jesus – James Tissot
Angry – Ozan Uzel
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