Many a times the prejudices that we hold do not allow us to appreciate the new viewpoint being presented to us. So, we look for excuses to weaken the argument being analyzed for us. Using some biblical examples let us expatiate on this issue. The Pharisees constituted political authority in Israel in their days. Since, the country’s constitution rested on what we call the scriptures anyway; the Pharisees were at the pinnacle of not just intellectualism, but were the legal luminaries in the society. Therefore, they enjoyed some level of dignified respect in the society. In fact, they formed the authority of last resort on how to live. This would have all been perfect if they believed in what they preached.
Exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees
However, Jesus in exposing them showed us that they paraded themselves as constituted authorities on Moses Law, taught it, forced people to practice those laws just because they enjoyed the associated social status; not because they believed it or were ready to practice them (Matt. 23:1-23). Hence, Jesus openly called them hypocrites (Matt. 23: 14, 23). This label from Jesus Christ confirms that they did not truly believe in the traditions that they were enforcing. So, their true beliefs had nothing to do with the Laws of Moses that they taught and enforced. And that is the issue, the conflict between what was taught and people see.
We need to prevailing consider the circumstances very carefully. Jesus as God could discern their beliefs. Irrespective of what the people saw and how they respected the Pharisees were, Jesus was able to point out that they were not honest to the impression that they portrayed. It is also worthy of note that Jesus was in fact teaching about end-time events when He cited this example. In other words, they were truly trapped and caught up, just like we will be on Judgment Day. We should also note that their state of belief was not about being unsure about the Laws of Moses, they just believed in something else; even though, they actively taught the Laws of Moses.
Your belief versus prophecy
Very importantly, their beliefs did not matter when the Lord showed up. The point being made here is that what Jesus told us to expect will happen. Recent history confirms that they will happen irrespective of whether anyone of us believes Him or not. It is better to submit to Him now and wait for Him to prove it!
Let us trip off on some other intellectual discourse. The Bible basically suggests that our flesh was molded from clay that God breathe on. And before us, He had made others animals and fish in the seas; and we just basically came to govern them. Yet, we do eat these animals and plants to restore and maintain our clay/fresh protein, because as science shows they are all made from similar amino acids and so on. However, if I were able to mask the contribution of other senses, and I set up a table for you, the moment the meat touches your mouth, you are able to tell me if it is from a buffalo or crab or even a snail.
Why is this muscular material different from species to species? Are some made from clay, others beach sand, and yet others from desert sand? Or how are they interrelated to the extent that man recognizes that his physiological sanity depends on the consumption of these meats? I mean neither creation nor evolutionary science clearly demonstrate the links between snail and crayfish amino acid to human protein. Yet, irrespective of what you suspect or believe the status quo remains that we eat these meats according to the orders of God at creation, and they serve us protein to our benefit, period.
Similarly, irrespective of what you choose to believe, Jesus has laid down the truth, irrespective of what the principles make sense to us or not. What the Pharisees believed in did not matter when the Lord exposed their truth. If the Chief of Security guarding Paul and Silas (Acts 16) believed that their just praises and worship could break their chains, maybe he would have disallowed them from starting in the first place. Yet, since the worship session was not a silent prayer session, his opinion may have been that it was insignificant and harmless. Otherwise, he would have stopped them but, he left them alone. This is recent history!
Your belief is irrelevant to God’s truth
Yet, the Lord used the occasion to prove Himself. His own household received salvation through the experience. In other words, what we believe in is irrelevant, especially if we cannot discredit historical records. Whatever God has decreed will materialize in its own time.
Pastor John blogs on practical life issues at the Deception Battlefront & Jesus Blog and is Director of APGO publishers of Christianity 101, Christian Sacraments, Baby Steps in Christ, Islamic Jesus