By Robert Thomas
These recent passages in John contain some rough conversations Jesus had with the Pharisees and Jews. These are supposed to be the religious elite, the ones who knew Scripture the very best. But when Jesus speaks to these men, He receives His strongest opposition.
The fact that Jesus is the Messiah is beyond what these men will accept. Their version of religion is awfully self-serving, which is an evaluation from Jesus Himself. He calls them hypocrites and snakes, and he accuses them of leading people astray. Jesus’ conversations with the Jews in these passages make them so angry; they attempt to stone Him to death.
There is hardly any humility in Israel’s religious elite. These Jews haughtily informed Jesus, “The only Father we have is God himself.” Jesus told them in no uncertain terms that if God were truly their father, they would love Jesus as well. They would hear His teaching and His mission and join in. Instead, Jesus points out their rebellious hearts. He is the embodiment of the fact that they have rejected God and God’s teachings. If they truly accepted God’s commands, they would accept Jesus as well.
The challenge for us is clear: in the Bible, we see Jesus’ commands and His standards. The teachings of Jesus do not differ from the commands of God. Jesus said Himself, “I and the Father are one.” This means it’s impossible to agree with the teachings of Jesus, yet disagree with the commands of God. It’s all or nothing.
The Pharisees and the Jews didn’t like being told this, because they had crafted a man-made religion based on works, and they were perfectly comfortable with it. Our enemy, the devil, was probably happy with their religion as well – it didn’t involve any relationship with God. Let these rough conversations from John penetrate to your soul, and ask yourself: am I following a Christ of my own design, or do I follow Jesus Christ from the Bible?
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