1 Chronicles 1-3 John 5:25-47
“You carefully study the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. They do in fact tell about me, but you refuse to come to me to have that life.” (John 5:39-40 NCV)
When Christians think about the Pharisees, we see all that’s wrong with following religious rules and regulations. To first century Jews, though, the Pharisees were the elite God-followers. They searched the Scriptures to make sure that they were following the Law. They would be the rocks that would prevent what happened when the previous Temple was destroyed as God’s people were sent into exile. Jesus noted here that they were studying each tree so closely, that they couldn’t see the forest. They were so involved in minutia, that they forgot the big picture of God’s love and grace that was eventually revealed in Jesus Christ. In this passage, Jesus tried to get the Pharisees to look at the forest knowing that if they saw the big picture, that God loved the world and sent Jesus to die for the world, they’d recognize who He was. A few would eventually get their noses out of their scrolls and recognize that Jesus was the Messiah predicted by those scrolls, but most refused to look up, not even recognizing whey they played a part in fulfilling prophecy when they sent Jesus to die on the cross.
Some Christians get caught up in this Old Testament, Pharisaical way of looking at things. We decide just what it is a Christian should do or not do; just what a Christian should think or not think and then watch to make sure that people are following Jesus the right way. We know we may not be perfect, but by God’s grace, we’re going to enforce perfect behavior on you. It was through Jesus Christ that God revealed His mercy and grace to the whole world. We have the most amazing message of love to share with people and instead we treat them like little kids trying to get all the lint off their clothes before going to see grandma. Grandma never worried about the lint. God’s already taken care of the sins. Our job is to show God’s grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. We weren’t called to be Pharisees, enforcing God’s Laws on the world. That was understood as long ago as Acts 15. Our job is to serve as ambassadors, proclaiming the message of reconciliation with the God of the Universe. When people understand our message, they should see Jesus when they do search the Scriptures.
Lord, thank You for allowing me to see Jesus when I search the Scriptures. I see a message of grace and reconciliation. I see hope for the world. It’s too easy to fall into the habit of judging others when they appear to be walking away from You. Let me reflect Your love and forgiveness and help draw them back to You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.