Conservative Jesus

John 10:34-36 WEB

Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods?’ [35] If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can’t be broken), [36] do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’


That phrase, “and scripture can’t be broken,” is intriguing. Why did Jesus include this? He is talking to Pharisees, men who are experts in Scripture. But Pharisees were also experts in the Talmud. The Talmud was a book of approximately 400 rules which, at times, contradicted the Scripture. This is the error Jesus is addressing in these verses.

Including “and scripture can’t be broken” Is also interesting because Jesus does not appear concerned about modernizing the Scripture. He is Conservative. He takes the Scripture as fully divine and to be obeyed in heart first. This was a radical idea but with a very conservative approach on Jesus’ part. Jesus is speaking to the conservatives of the times, and yet, he had many rebukes for their wrong heart issues.

And there is a heart issue here. The Pharisees have grown cold towards God. They have become orthodox instead of conservative. They have come up with a book to explain the scripture. That book, the Talmud, was given greater authority by the Pharisees than they gave the Scripture. The Talmud was a cruel taskmaster. Worse, any Jewish person caught breaking the Talmud would be kicked out of the sanctuary. So, a scripture obeying Jew could be barred from the temple because of a contradiction in the Talmud.


Lord, help me discern false teachings. Help me always place the authority of the Bible above and help me live its message of love and obedience. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus’ Truth

John 8:52-55 WEB

Then the Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets; and you say, ‘If a man keeps my word, he will never taste of death.’ [53] Are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?” [54] Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God. [55] You have not known him, but I know him. If I said, ‘I don’t know him,’ I would be like you, a liar. But I know him, and keep his word.


White lies. American culture practically runs on them. We thoughtlessly go through conversational motions without realizing we casually tell white lies for the sake of good. But this was not Jesus’ problem. He did not tell white lies. Nor did he tell possible lies. He told what he believed to be true and for this choice, he was called a demon.

Jesus was also called a demon for bringing a new idea. That was, salvation comes from obedience to Christ versus obedience to the law. When you stop and think about how counterculture this idea of obeying Jesus was, it makes it easy to understand the crowd calling Jesus a demon.

Another reason for saying Jesus had a demon was because he said he knew God. Someone in our modern era would probably be called a demon for saying they knew God. It is stunning that Jesus went through everything we go through. Even being pressured to recant, he holds firm when he says of the Father, “…I know him, and keep his word.”


Lord Jesus, I want to be like you. Please forgive me for telling white lies to preserve myself. Help me trust you fully and teach me to kindly say the truth. Teach me to keep silent when appropriate so I do not cause harm in disagreement. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Jesus’ Holiness

John 4:27-29 WEB

At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” [28] So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, [29] “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”


The disciples would have been astonished that Jesus was speaking with a Samaritan, let alone a Samaritan woman. Yet, they knew their master well enough to keep silent. Because of their silence, the woman goes back to her city and stokes the interest of the citizens. In fact, she calls them to come and listen to Jesus. The Samaritan woman was an astute woman and good at social relationships. She waited until she knew how Jesus’ disciples were going to behave before she was willing to bring her friends and family to Christ.

How often does the scorn of a believer stop the gospel? The gospel is good news, yet, so often Christians have such disdain for sinners that they become ineffective in sharing the good news. Jesus’ disciples were raised up from childhood in an environment of righteousness apart from holiness. The disciples knew what the law prescribed as right and wrong behaviors. Unfortunately, they also learned the traditions of the elders as if they were scripture. They learned to despise foreigners, to despise women, and to despise anyone who failed to keep the law.

However, after spending time ministering with Jesus, they understood that he cared more for people than for the traditions of the elders. Jesus was both righteous and holy. He kept the commands of the Father, and he was also able to bring sinners into a right relationship with God. There were many leaders who did not view Jesus as righteous, but he did not let those judgments stop him from the holy action of sharing the gospel.

In keeping silent, the apostles advanced the kingdom. They did not uproot what Jesus was doing with disdain for the Samaritan Woman. They may have felt uncomfortable with Jesus talking to her, but they like Jesus, cared more for the Father’s will than that of the religious leaders. The apostles also cared more for Jesus’ opinion than that of their peers.

The apostles did not jump on the legalistic bandwagon with their contemporaries. They were astute enough to recognize that Jesus was sent by God. They often struggled to fully believe he was the messiah. Yet, they did believe that Jesus was working for God’s interests (John 14:11). So, they remained silent, despite the ugly feelings that may have been stirring inside of them.


Lord Jesus, please give me the insight to understand when you are working in another’s life. Please forgive me for despising people because of their sins. Let the love you have for the lost rise in me so that I can bring them to you to be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Adultery

John 1:17 WEB

For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.


The law was given through Moses because the people rejected God’s Voice (Exo 20:19). After God delivered Israel from Egypt, he prepared them to meet with him (Exo 19:10-12). But when the time came, the Israelites were scared and told Moses they did not want to meet God. More, the people told Moses they would rather he talked to God and tell them what God said. So God gave Moses the law, but only after the people rejected him (Ex 20:18-19).

There is a similar phenomenon happening today. Because Christ overcame death he opened the door for the Holy Spirit to manifest in the hearts of every person who calls on the Lord (Rom 5:5). Once again, people can hear from God (Acts 4:21). However, instead of teaching believers to go directly to God, leaders are teaching people to go directly to the Bible (Mt 12:31).

In their zeal to educate people in the ways of God, ministers are teaching people to worship the Bible instead of God himself (John 5:39). Do you know why people do that? It’s the exact same reason the Israelites did it when they decided they preferred the law to God’s voice, fear (Exo 20:18-20). I think the people of God, in their desperation not to fail God, have decided they prefer the letter of the law to obedience to his voice (Rom 2:29).

Please do not misunderstand me, the Bible is an absolutely brilliant book in every way. Divinely inspired, it’s the story of God’s Journey with mankind. It’s God’s Story Still, it’s better to talk to God directly through prayer and then read the Bible (Jam 2:23). And if in a given moment you can only do one or the other, choose God (Jam 4:5).


Lord Jesus, please teach me to respect your word and to love You. Teach me to recognize the sound of your voice. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.