A question came through my mind last week and this week about Pharisees. This may be hard to explain. Jesus has much to say, as did others, to these religious leaders. I am sure they were not all bad or warped, but that is how we know them. When these leaders heard Jesus, they had to respond. That was not and was never easy.
Sometimes I need to hear things not so easy to hear. I need to respond and hear from God. One case was the passage below where John the Baptist slams religious leaders. Read on …
Matthew 3:7-11 (The Message) --- When John realized that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: "Brood of snakes! What do you think you're doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference? It's your life that must change, not your skin! And don't think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as father. Being a descendant of Abraham is neither here nor there. Descendants of Abraham are a dime a dozen. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it's deadwood, it goes on the fire. "I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I'm a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.
"Brood of snakes" … that is not very nice. But he addressed a huge issue about looking right on the outside and on the inside being nothing. Then John said that Jesus would come to change people "from the inside out." I like that. Says much about what Jesus does in our day.
So my question from God to me and now from me to you, have we exchanged what is superior for what is inferior? Have we made was is great into something that is just ok? Are we living to please people or to please God? Are we trying to make our skin right but not our hearts? Tough questions.
This morning I came across this verse that I have read many times. It pierced my heart.
Proverbs 16:16 (NIV) --- How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!
Would we rather get rich or be wise? Would we rather be impressive to people or to know God?
It is the Christmas season. It is time that we make sure what we are celebrating is Jesus and nothing else. Don't make this season about what you are getting or about how your life has been busy. Make this season much about who Jesus is and what Jesus is doing in and through your life.
Do you act like a Pharisee some times? If I am honest, I have to answer yes. That hurts. I see it. I want to change it and become more and more like Jesus. How about you?