Saturday, January 23, 2016
Jesus said, in Matthew 23:15, "Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."
And again in Matthew 23:27-28 He said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."
Who are the scribes, Pharisees, and even the Sadducees of Jesus' day? If we know who they were, maybe we could see what Jesus' timeless words to them mean to us today. Scribes were those who taught, copied and interpreted the law. They transmitted unwritten legal decisions in their effort to apply Mosaic law into daily life. They became at some point in time, a political party and they functioned within the Sanhedrin.
The Sadducees were a religious group of priestly conservatives. They were part of Judean aristocracy and a political party in and of themselves. They were different than the Pharisees in that they believed in human freedom and thought the soul perished along with the body, therefore no resurrection would be made. They supported the rich and supported any law written in contrast to Pharisaic traditions.
The Pharisees were powerful ascetics, holding strictly to the standards of the Torah. Their main role was political although some priests were Pharisees along with some scribes. They differed from the Sadducees in that they believed in the resurrection from the dead.
They resemble the political, legal and religious leaders in their society. Jesus challenged them and they didn't like it. He saw right through them and he told them the truth of what He saw. They sound very much like groups of justices, lawyers, administrators, politicians and Christians in name only alive and well in our society today.
I hear politicians today quote Scripture and in the next breath they say something that is so contrary to Scripture. They compartmentalize what they say and what they do. They compartmentalize what they believe as true and how they actually live. They don't want a full-blown relationship with Jesus, so they use Him and dance around the edges of a relationship with Him. Some outwardly lie about knowing Him. They use Jesus as capital to lure us into supporting them.
In verse 28 (above) Jesus nails those leaders. He tells them that to a person who doesn't know, they represent a beautiful package, but they are actually not what they seem, in fact, they are just the opposite. What is inside will eventually come through. A man's actions cannot be separated from his belief system for long or else he will exhibit characteristics of the insane. Real believers can spot the counterfeit. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice. And we do! But there is a plethora of counterfeit believers promising that they are for Him and that they can deliver satisfaction, prosperity, protection and happiness.
Our country was a church plant at the beginning, and we fashioned our Constitution on God's word. We became a Constitutional Republic. Certain things will always be wrong because God says they are wrong. We can never make certain things subject to popular vote. Some things must always be off of the table according to God's word.
John Adams, one of our founding father's said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people." It would make no sense to some and in the hands of some others it could become as abusive as any other form of unrighteous government. Freedom, for example, must have a framework around it. Without that framework our freedom can be abusive and deadly. That framework is God.
Great evangelists, teachers, artists, singers in America have all come bearing testimony of a great and wonderful God. But now we no longer recognize those people as having something to offer. Instead we put them on the fringe as an archaic relic to be given a nod.
Before you vote, listen. Compare what the politician says with what he does. Don't vote for the expedient or cast your vote for the most likely to win. As Christians we are to vote our conscience. Do that and let the rest up to God. Any other way takes Him out of the picture and gives power to men and empty promises. He will do wonders when we trust Him.