February 5, 2016
The record of Jesus’ time on Planet Earth shows two contrasting attitudes toward people. To the hurting who were seeking answers and hope, He showed amazing patience. But to the people who were caught up in their own self-righteousness, He used harsh words to describe His feelings about them.
The people who knew the Old Testament and prided themselves on quoting and applying its laws seemed unable to show grace and concern for people other than themselves. They looked for opportunities to criticize while priding themselves on their own behavior. They found ways to avoid Truth when it got in the way of their greed. We could say that they knew the Truth but decided what part of it pertained to them.
The humble and hurting people were often the target of the legalistic scholars’ attitudes and were viewed as a bother to be avoided or eliminated if possible. If you were part of the religious “in-crowd,” you could count on protection. But if not, you were probably shunned.
Jesus had time and patience for the hurting people but little of either for the self-righteous. The hurting people were looking for compassion, while the other group desired recognition – they knew a lot but did not apply it to daily life, while the others knew little but responded to what Jesus taught.
Nearly 2,000 years later, we seem to have a similar situation among people who claim to know and follow Jesus. The “Cultural Christians” know the Bible and often pride themselves on talking about it, but decide that certain parts of it do not apply to them. They use Scripture in light of what society is doing rather than according to what it actually teaches.
The “Committed Christians” place a higher priority on following in Jesus’ steps and submit to Biblical Truth regardless of its popularity, or lack of, in society. At the end of the day, they have confidence that they cared enough to live it the way Jesus did – with a balance of Truth and Grace. It is worth pondering how Jesus would evaluate our individual lives and the Christian community today.
Pastor Bill Ehmann