Relating To The Arrogant

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. I Cor. 1:27

How did Jesus relate to arrogant people?

There are people who say, in response to everything you say, “I know.” It’s a poor relational skill as it kills any desire to have a conversation with them. Their need to know it all drives their behavior in every single relationship. This person is usually very vocal in meetings and controlling within a committee. It doesn’t take long for him/her to get under everyone’s skin. The shy person withdraws and avoids them if possible. The extrovert might fall into the temptation to argue and correct them. Neither response is productive nor is it like Jesus.

Jesus did not avoid arrogant people nor did He react to them by sinning in His heart. The Pharisees get a bad wrap for collectively being on Jesus’ bad list. Not true. I can forget that Jesus grew up in synagogues and was constantly in the company of Pharisees and Sadducees. When He was twelve, He stayed in the temple to be in their company. And when He was in active ministry for the last three years of His life, He usually went where they were. Many were close-minded but many also believed. Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them. John 9:16

How did Jesus relate to them?

He exposed their hearts.  The strongest language Jesus ever used was directed against them. He said they were hypocrites not practicing what they preached (Matthew 23:1-5).  In their zeal to keep their rules, they were breaking God’s law.

He recited the scriptures.  He didn’t appear to say, “Well, you think this but I think that.)  He told them they didn’t know God.  So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “He who sent me is true, and him you do not know.  John 7:28

He extended an invitation to his enemies to believe.  “If anyone, any Pharisee, any chief priest, any officer trying to arrest me, any offended person—if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”  John 7:37

Do you remember when Jesus looked out over this city and cried, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”  Matt. 23:37 My heart is challenged this morning because I realize that Jesus loved them. Even the spiteful, hateful, and arrogant. He, the great Sower, sowed the seed and knew that there would be a harvest even among some who were out to kill Him.

The apostle Paul, a most Pharisee of the Pharisees was converted. Nicodemus stood up for Jesus before the council and prepared Jesus’ body for burial. Joseph of Arimathea, part of the Sanhedrin, had the guts to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body. And Gamaliel, Paul’s Rabbi and mentor, stood up to the council for the Apostles.

Jesus loved sinners but condoned only faith. He loved the scriptures and used them to correct error but came to serve even the Pharisees rather than be served. He came to love rather than to be loved.

When someone makes me feel small or stupid, I can run away. Jesus, make me like You. Help me love them, serve them, but willing to say what You would say. Amen

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