In my recent studies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, I stumble upon two groups mentioned often throughout the gospels. These two groups are the Pharisees and Sadducees. These men were not your average Joe. These men held prominent positions. The Sadducees were very powerful during their time. They were the chief priests and the high priests. They were often part of the ruling court called the Sanhedrin. They were a wealthy group of people who also concerned themselves with politics. The Pharisees contained the middle class groups of people. They interacted with the commoners. Through interactions with the commoners, they were able to be more influential and highly esteemed by the people. Because of this, they were able to control the decision making of the Sanhedrin. Some pharisees were able to become priests, but most were the business class and had vested interest in influencing the people. These two groups often butted heads on certain beliefs, but they worked together at times as well if it benefited both parties. Does this sound like our current political system to you?
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were religious figures as well as political. However, they had their own rules added into the mix. These rules helped them obtain wealth and power. They were not rules of God, but rules of man. There were certain things you were not able to do on the Sabbath according to their man made rules. They made rules about what was unclean and what was not. You were to abide by those rules or you were punished for it. Much of what they said had nothing to do with God. They would throw in some of the true aspects of it and twist it with their own rules. Does this sound like many churches today?
Both John the Baptist and Jesus himself called these two groups out often. At one point, they were called a brood of vipers. Jesus and John were disgusted with them. The two groups spent most of their time in the shadows following both Jesus and John the Baptist around. They would question them. When they got the answer, they still would not believe. No matter what they heard or what miracle was seen, they had an answer as to why it happened. At one point, they even claimed Jesus was a demon himself and that is why He could do the things he did. It would be these two groups and their influence that caused the ultimate death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus was a man like you and I, but He was God’s son. God gave him power at that time to heal the sick, cast out impure spirits, and spread the word of God throughout the land. He was the Messiah and it was evident. Yet, they still refused to believe. They made up stories about him as they went along. Jesus did nothing wrong, but yet these men consistently found fault in what he did.
On multiple occasions, Jesus warns about these men. He tells people to stay away from them. They will not enter His kingdom. This is not because they do not have the choice, it is because they will never believe no matter how hard you try. They are not worth the effort.
I find it amazing how many Pharisees and Sadducess are in this world today. They are running our government, they are in our churches, and the are in our face consistently on the news and on social media. There is nothing wrong with questioning the existence of God. When you find the answers you seek, do you still question His existence? When you do your homework on Jesus’s existence and find what you are looking for, do you believe it? We are quick to believe the stories printed in the media. Heck, we will even believe solely the headliner without reading the story. Are you this person? People believe an asteroid is spinning past earth because NASA told us. We cannot see it for ourselves, but we believe it. Many are quick to trust science and the experiments they post. They believe what the scientists have to say. However, scientists have never proved the non existence of God. They never have been able to kill the fact that there may actually be a God out there. We believe the stories posted about artifacts that were found that prove the existence of dinosaurs. Yet the artifacts found about the existence of a Messiah are forgotten. This is exactly the same way they were in Jesus’s time. They had Him right in their face for their eyes to see and totally disregarded Him. Their rules, their ideas, and their traditions were more important to them than the Messiah standing right before their very eyes.
I often wonder why God allows these people to continue down their wicked path. The world gets uglier by the day. Wouldn’t it be easier if God just eliminated all the problems? I got my answer in my studies. If God actually performed a miracle today, would we believe it? If he struck down all who are bad, would we believe it is God’s hand? What miracles is He performing that go unnoticed? You see, we would rather believe the headliner. Jesus did not bother with the Sadducees and Pharisees because He knew their mission. He tried to open doors for them to believe and they shut them. He knew no matter what, they would not believe. This is why God is not bothering now. If it did happen, we would not even see it. Perhaps we will see more of God’s miracles and grace if we look for it. Look for the miracles today. Read the Bible, you will find so many answers you seek. Do not let this ugly world be your guide. You will never find what you are looking for.
(photo credit: https://www.jewelsofjudaism.com/pharisees-sadducees-resurrection-emor/)