Follow Jesus or Follow the Rules?

It doesn’t take much reading in the New Testament to see that Jesus led a movement of love and acceptance. He passionately fought the “good fight” against inequality, religious rules, and social boundaries. We see Him healing people on the Sabbath, encouraging women to preach, and holding love as the standard for the law.

We also see the Pharisees acting extremely hostile, judgmental, and downright petty towards Jesus. When Jesus had dinner with the “sinners,” the pharisees flipped. When Jesus healed a paralyzed man, the Pharisees accused Jesus of blasphemy, completely indifferent to the the good he did. When Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, the Pharisees left afraid for their power and prepared to kill him.

Jesus was a rule breaker, and that was a threat to the Pharisees because they sat at the top of a temple made of rules, a temple that Jesus had come to destroy.

Multiple times they tried to trick Jesus on the Sabbath, but every time they ended up looking foolish themselves. Why? Because Jesus acted solely out of love while they were concerned with being righteous. Jesus was focused on helping people, and all the Pharisees were doing was hurting.

If our call as Christians is to be like Christ, then why does the modern Christian church seem to be overflowing with pharisees? 

As a woman, I turn to the left and am told that I cannot use my God-given gifts to preach. I turn to the right and am told to quiet down and submit. They say that, as a woman, I can’t possibly be called to lead, yet they walk around with their power and titles as if being in charge is a man’s right.

Don’t they see that they look more like the Pharisees than the Jesus they claim to follow? Don’t they see how foolish it is to look at the sex of a person rather than their gifts and calling?

We all stumble. We all make mistakes. But as we grow in relationship with Jesus, shouldn’t there be change for the better?

Jesus said that you will know a tree by it’s fruit. If your fruit looks more like rules and tradition than love and acceptance, it may be a good idea to check where your tree is rooted. 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Matthew 23:13 

 

 

 

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