Prayer for the day
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
Scripture for the day
The religious leaders, the scribes, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, should have been friends with Jesus. It’s easy to paint them as the wicked ones, as the ones deserving of Jesus’ wrath, but if you think about it, they should’ve been friends. After all, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were concerned with pleasing God. So was Jesus. They were concerned with righteous living. So was Jesus. They were concerned with the spiritual well-being of the people. So was Jesus. Their concerns and Jesus’ concerns lined up quite nicely. One would think they would be the best of friends.
The tribes of Israel were the people of God. God had called them, created them, formed them and informed them. God had watched over and protected them. They were descended from relatives, brothers even. They should have gotten along. They should have been friends and brothers.
Instead, in both instances, animosity and warring broke out. Jesus and the religious leaders were constantly at odds. The Israelites were constantly warring.
Why was there such disparity between the ideal and the reality of relationships?
The disparity comes in the First Testament because of humanity. It comes because people think more clearly and carefully about their own wants and desires than they do about others. It comes because people act like people, selfish, greedy, and self-absorbed people who can’t see past their own wants and desires.
Strangely, the disparity exists in the Second Testament for the same reasons. The religious leaders and teachers of the law could not get past their idea or understanding of the mission and desire of God. They could not accept that they had been wrong in any sense. They could not accept that they had missed the point, the call, the priorities of God. And so they rebelled.
We have the opportunity to overcome the disparity, to be the people of God who do not treat one another as we want, but who treat one another as God wants. Would that we had the courage.