Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Modern Day Pharisee

 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."

 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
~Luke 4:17-21

And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.
~Luke 4:24

 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff.  But passing through their midst, He went His way.
~Luke 4:28-30

Jesus was such a troublemaker!

Does this statement make you uncomfortable?

He was raised as a Jew, God's chosen people. He worshiped in the synagogue with His neighbors. One day He read scripture about the Messiah and then said "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

See what I mean? Troublemaker!

I could make a very long list of all the Jewish laws He broke: healing on the Sabbath, allowing a harlot to touch His feet as she washed them, not washing before eating, eating with obvious sinners, and so much more, but here is the thing...

He did not break even one of God's laws.

We look up to Jesus as our example of a pure life, pleasing to God. We see Him as fulfillment of the Law. We are proud of Him taking a stand against those who were keepers of the Jewish laws, the Pharisees. He was a radical. The Pharisees wanted Him to fit in their theology. They were certain He was not the Messiah, because He was not religious like them. They saw Him only as a troublemaker.

My questions then are these:

If Jesus spoke at my church, would we feel comfortable with Him? Would we see Him as too radical to be the right kind of Christian? Would He be religious enough to fit in?

I am always fascinated by hypocrisies.

The very things Jesus pointed out was not important in God's Kingdom are the very things we have made important in our churches. Have we, who take pride in believing in His ways and worshiping the way He would have us do it, not done exactly what the Pharisees did? Are we suppose to conduct our worship service in the way that makes everyone comfortable or should it make us a little uncomfortable...or would any of us be uncomfortable if we were listening to what God wants and going with the Spirit's leading rather than worrying about what we want?

Has the church become the worship place of modern day Pharisees comfortable in their religion because they are uncomfortable with being like the radical, troublemaking Jesus led by the Spirit of God?

~ Please save me from being a Pharisee and give me the courage to be a radical, Spirit-filled troublemaker like You, my Lord~

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.