Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lent 2014: Pharisees

John 9:13-34
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Do you get as frustrated as I do with people in positions of leadership when they choose to lead poorly? The Pharisees were the leaders of the Jewish community, trained extensively in the Mosaic law and self-appointed rulers of the local synagogue. They obviously had the authority to judge who was allowed in the synagogue and who was too sinful. When it came to Jesus and the formerly blind man, they acted as if they were gathering evidence to decide the case, but in reality they had already judged Him to be a sinner and that anyone who professed Him to be the Messiah would be prohibited from worshiping in the synagogue. They chose to reject Him before even listening to Him, without considering the miracle He had just performed, basing their claim solely on the human derivative of God's law that the Sabbath should be set apart in a special way to honor the Lord.
It strikes me as hypocritical that the Pharisees were so certain of the state of Jesus' soul as being sinful (as if they themselves were not sinners!) without any clear evidence. Because He chose to love those who were suffering even on the Sabbath they grouped Him together with prostitutes and tax collectors. Because they had come to that conclusion, anyone who came to a different conclusion was, by their orders, cast out of society. They were so certain of their verdict that they rejected the formerly blind man's testimony because he credited Jesus with healing him. They insisted they wanted to hear the truth yet they insisted on rejecting the truth when it was told to them. They wanted every Jew to follow them as spiritual leaders yet they weren't able to explain the miracle nor were they willing to investigate it with open minds.
Do we ever get caught up in the hypocrisy of the Pharisees? Do we judge others before giving them the opportunity to prove themselves? Or are we willing to love first and follow Christ's example even when it becomes inconvenient?

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