Blinded By Bigotry
Father, I celebrate Your written Word today. It is a mirror of, and a witness to the Living Word, Jesus Christ my Lord.
Read John 7:45-8:1
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
We need to thank God for the gracious gift of the assurance of our salvation, and pray that we never turn that extraordinary grace into arrogance.
The “greatest day” came to an end. There was a lull in the conflict as Jesus went to the Mount of Olives (8:1), and his opponents to their homes. The police had taken no action because they were too busy listening to him. The unholy alliance of Pharisees and chief priests was not impressed. Convinced that they were right, they chastise all the pilgrims who had faithfully kept the Law by attending this feast as “this mob that knows nothing of the law” (49) and, worse still, called them “cursed.” However, their assumption of Jesus’ guilt, without a trial, and their determination to kill him, put them, not the pilgrims, in breach of the Law (See Deut. 17:6; 19:15), as Nicodemus tries to tell them.
They thought it inconceivable that anyone with a proper theological education would even consider believing in Jesus. We readers know that, in Nicodemus, there was one such person in their presence. His intervention was treated with no greater respect than the crowds in the Temple. He is given a put-down. Once again they, not he, were in the wrong. (Jonah came from Galilee!) They showed appalling arrogance and self-righteousness. They were blinded by bigotry.
It is easy for Christians to read this sort of self-delusion into the actions and pronouncements of those who oppose us today. There is an intellectual arrogance in Western culture that cannot imagine taking any religious, faith-based claims seriously. But we need to read the Bible against ourselves, not just for ourselves. Our societies are right to fear arrogant religion that is so sure of itself that it never listens. There is always a potential for Christians to be more like the Pharisees than like Jesus; to claim to know Scripture without lives to match. This Scripture is written to warn us, not just to reassure us.
Have you ever been ridiculed for your faith (45-49)? How did you handle it and what did you do
Have mercy, Lord. Deliver me from self-righteousness, and from setting myself up as the standard by which to judge others. Help me to trust in Your great mercy alone.