My Thoughts. . .
Jesus was a former carpenter, who decided to preach, but folks knew he lacked the scholastics qualifications. He “stepped-on” well-established religious customs and rules. His students were not trained in recognized religious schools. Married and single women disgraced themselves by following him. He ignored Sabbath keeping rules and disregarded societal limits. He may have performed miracles, but religious experts knew his source was Beelzebub. He allowed a convicted adulteress to walk away free of all charges. He worked on the Sabbath Day rather than waiting until the first day of the week to perform his miracles. He disrespected the clergy by using speech that was too demeaning to repeat (Matthew 23).
Is Phariseeism alive and well today? Most congregations are graced by at least one person who qualifies for that position. Others are “blessed” with many more. Those who criticized Peter in Acts 11, that God had added to the saved, were the same party of those who made the meeting in Jerusalem necessary (Acts 15:1-5).
Honest men can be mistaken. Educated men may allow prejudice to direct them. Respect may lead an individual to accept another’s point of view rather than what scripture actually states. A person may be able to quote the Bible, but not be true to context. Some may give more credit than is due. One church stated, “Our minister was educated in a prestigious Bible University. The membership was not.” Yet, those members may have forgotten more Bible than he has learned. We all need to study and there are things which we do not know that someone else can help us with. Perhaps we can do the same?
The Pharisees quoted scripture to sustain their belief system. Yet they disagreed. Believers in Jesus do the same. Imperfection continues to be our gift. Even among our congregations there are divisive differences. We preach unity while justifying our personal division. Jesus’ apostles argued over who was the greatest disciple. We have been successful in following their lead. Each attempts to establish his differences as the correct one. Non-believers are seldom impressed with such in-house solutions. Jesus was rejected for teaching the truth. Too many of us fall short of that accomplishment.
Jesus prayed “that they may be one” (John 17:11). Sadly, our understanding has been successful in missing Jesus’ point. Man seems to feel that he needs to help Deity by adding what he feels God left out. The finished product is a mess rather than God’s message. It is not appealing when one believes his mess is better than another’s.” The world is not looking for the best mess. Civilization is searching for that worthwhile ingredient Paul included in his letter to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 13). Truth with that kind of foundation will set people free! We just need to sit at the feet of Jesus, take it all in, then put it in practice. It might start a revolution!