Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eager to Find Fault

"The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely. . ." (Luke 6:7; Mark 3:2); ". . .He was being carefully watched" (Luke 14:1); "They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said. . ." (Luke 20:20b).

“For they were eager to find some charge to bring against him" (Luke 6:7 TLB). They were eager -- what a way to spend one's time and enthusiasm! The Pharisees appointed themselves vigilantes over the Anointed One. They were ever on the watch for an apparent breach of their conventional rules. The Pharisee watches and sees that which most don't bother to notice. He is cunning and diligent, and doesn't let pass what is a breaking of his law. Never would it dawn on him that he himself is breaking the Sabbath and every other day's law of kindness by his cherishing of such hostility.

And to think that the Pharisee used the cloak of hospitality for his peculiar brand of hostility (Luke 14:1)! To add to the viciousness of it, he laid a trap to ensnare Jesus: "There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy" (v.2). The miracle here was no more spectacular than others Jesus had performed; what is unusual here is the contrast of the ever-present graciousness of Jesus and the surly vindictiveness of these keepers of the all-important Law. In Matthew 23 Jesus pronounced one of several woes: "Woe to you, teachers of the law. . .woe. . .woe. . .woe. . . You give a tenth of your spices. . .But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness" (Matthew 23:23).

The wonder of this story is that Jesus accepted the invitation for He knew their hearts. But "He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45). He loves the Pharisee, too, which means He loves us.

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