THE GIFT AND THE GIVER
And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. John 5:16
The men who made up the Jewish Sanhedrin (the religious ruling council of the Jews) took one of their jobs seriously. They were to investigate any new teacher who came along lest that man was a false prophet and would lead other Jews astray. They had already investigated John the Baptist. Now, Jesus was also under their scrutiny because He was healing some people on the Sabbath. A job, important in theory, had turned into a prison of regulations. What was meant to protect the faith morphed into the makings of a holy war against the One they were ultimately trying to serve. Jesus was God, the One for whom they were so zealous.
A holy calling can easily go awry and work against the kingdom instead of for it. The God we started out to honor and glorify is the One who is ultimately dishonored. The tragedy in the story about the Jew’s persecution of Jesus is that they served God but didn’t recognize Jesus. These were the ones who devoted their lives to religious duty, who should have seen the first hints of deity and bowed down and worshipped. Can the religious today miss the activity of Jesus among them? I fear so. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “If Jesus were to walk into any of our churches, how many would recognize Him?”
How does a calling get perverted? When I attempt to live it out without daily revelation. Like Solomon, I must declare that I am but a little child without the wisdom necessary to carry out my monumental God-given assignment. I know that without prayer, study, and meditation, I won’t have the tools necessary to live successfully. If I become self-impressed by my education and experience, believing myself to be brilliant enough to figure things out without daily prayer, I will turn into the likes of the Sanhedrin. Whom I started out to serve will be the One I wound.
Adam and Eve sinned in the garden when they abandoned revelation in favor of knowledge. By eating of the tree, they decided to study the course of ‘the knowledge of good and evil’ and rule the garden by their intellect. God’s offer to walk with them in the cool of the morning and give them guidance was abandoned. They believed their enemy – that they could be like God through eating of the tree – and rule by their own ingenuity. We’ve been twisting religion ever since.
The places I believe I am the most wise may be the very places I am in most need of Your wisdom. I come to You as a humble child, once again. Teach me to rule – your way. Amen