Luke 11: 52 “How terrible for you teachers of the Law! You have kept the key that opens the door to the house of knowledge; you yourselves will not go in and you stop those who are trying to get in!”
As I was reading my daily Bible passage, this verse struck an ominous chord in my spirit, and I keep coming back with the question….am I like the Pharisees or teachers of the Law? Have I kept hidden the key that opens the door to the knowledge of the Gospel? The Holy Spirit is convicting me and so I must admit that yes, I have done such a thing and it grieves me!
I have been a follower of Christ since 1984…that’s 35 years! Even now, as I see that number on the page, I find it incredible to believe! I’ve read the Bible so many times, have become very familiar with the people and their stories that I’ve often glossed over them without really giving them proper scrutiny or thought.
For example, the Pharisees, a group of people that are seen as prideful, self-righteous, pompous elitists that were not truly following God or the scriptures but were consumed with plotting the death of Jesus. I could never be compared to being like a Pharisee, I mean I’m nothing like them…or am I?
Before I continue down the road of self-examination, consider the assumptions I make regarding the Pharisees. So many references in the Bible depict the Pharisees in a negative light and in opposition to every position of Christ and so I paint them with a very broad brush of condemnation. However, there are instances in the Bible where not all Pharisees maintained the beliefs and actions of the majority. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and Gamaliel are examples of those who did not agree with the Pharisaic majority and either believed in Jesus as the Christ or at least advocated just dealings on Christ’s behalf.
I could not find any information on how many Pharisees’ there may have been at the time of Christ but I would imagine that it was a fair number and most likely there were more than a handful of Pharisees who were, if not believers in Jesus as the Christ, at least sympathetic to Him. If this scenario is possible then isn’t it also possible that followers of Christ today could slip into similar negative Pharisaic practices?
What I have in my favor is the grace of God that is extended through the blood of Christ. For the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart. The fact that the Holy Spirit was able to bring conviction, which led to repentance and an intentional desire to make a change in my behavior shows that I have not hardened my heart. Acknowledgment and repentance are only the first step…now the ongoing process of changing the behavior begins. Only with the grace of God, the love and compassion of Jesus, and the filling of Holy Spirit combined with my surrendering to the Trinity working in my life will I then be successful in changing my behavior.
Let the work begin in me!