Sympathy for The Pharisee
"Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: . . ." Mark 7:14
It's surprising how many Christians today read of the narrow-mindedness of the Pharisees and shake their heads in disgust wondering how they could've been so blind to the truth. Yet, many of us fall into the very same trap. We get sidetracked with our spiritual ideas, convictions and traditions while ignoring the very source of love. Maybe some sympathy for the Pharisees is due.
They had reason for their behavior. The Jewish nation was passing through a time of depression. It had all the glorious stories of the past days of the Old Testament. It was looking forward to a great future, when their Messiah should come. But, in the meantime, there was a period of depression under the reign of the Roman Empire. They were in jeopardy of losing their identity. The Pharisees believed what would hold their people together, preserve their heritage, was something that would make the Jews remember they were Jewish. The solution was the mosaic traditions and laws. And what followed was more laws, upon laws and multiplied rules.
The Pharisees thought if they lost rules, they would lose their people. That is why the best of Pharisee wanted to hang onto things distinctively Jewish during such a hard time. They focused on meticulous observance and minute orthodoxy. Believe it or not, we do the very same thing.
Our world is on an ever-increasingly, maddening head-on collision with destruction. Politically, the nation has gone ape crazy. The unborn are under attack, while we are told that corporations are people. Zealots seek to usher in their own version of the end times. And now, choosing a restroom has become a complicated task.
It’s too much to handle, we can't make sense of it all, we feel weak and powerless, so we focus on the little things, taking minute issues and exaggerate their importance – just like the Pharisees.
Jesus sees us entangled in our religious red tape and says, "listen to Me every one of you," this is not what it's all about. He calls us away from religion to a relationship with Him. Loving Jesus is the only thing that can make our life make sense. We make a great mistake if we try to meet this world without bringing Christ into it. When we do, what's really important becomes clear. We hear Him call, and if we obey, what we find is not some abstract, artificial guidelines, but fellowship with the Spirit, whom to know is eternal life.
Make a conscious choice today to love Him with your life.