Monday, 25 August 2008

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

Today's gospel reading tells the religious leaders of Jesus' time that they are not only ineffective, but with their laws and customs actually leading people into sin. No wonder they wanted to kill Jesus! These people have spent years learning and practicing their religion and here comes this young upstart that they are and had been 100% wrong, even sinful. Their reaction to this news could have been to listen to Jesus' rebuke, considered their actions, and changed what was wrong. But since they were all too human, they didn't do that. Think about it. What group of people in the history of mankind, especially one set in their ways and thinking themselves better than everyone else because of the group they belong to, ever listened to outsiders who tell them they are wrong?

Why did the Pharisees and scribes go so far from the ways of God? IMHO, it's because of fear. They looked at the Old Testament with all its rules and demands and punishments and such and concluded the only way for people to survive was to follow everything to the letter. The parts about God's love were ignored. In other words, they were far more afraid of losing salvation than winning life through God's forgiveness. They feared death more than they loved God. In fact, they feared death so much that, faced with unbending Law on one hand and sinful desires on the other, they came up with loopholes in the Law so they can follow their natural inclination to sin and yet not be condemned. And why not? They were not worshiping a living Person who can see all they do but a set of dead rules which cannot protest at being raped! In fact they were having such a good time having their way with the Law that they forgot to ask the Person who gave them the Law whether He agreed with what they did. And when this Person appeared in the form of Jesus to tell them that no, He did not, their fear of death surfaced. So instead of asking for forgiveness they struck back like creatures whose survival are endangered.

The question we need to ask ourselves is that do we fear death more than we love God? If someone were to come up and tell us off, do we immediately try to shut him up so our fear of death stay submerged? Or do we listen to that someone and ask God what to do next? If we love God we must depend on him for our every decision. Let us walk forth with God at our side.

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