Have you ever paid attention to the spiritual elite that tried to stump Jesus time and time again? How many times did this group of highly educated people try to use carefully crafted questions, questions that they thought they knew the answers to, and how many times did Jesus diffuse the query and use it as a teaching about the Kingdom of God? These people were at the top of the spiritual world. They were on all the committees, the board. They were elders. They taught Sunday School, and whenever the “church” doors were open they were there involved with whatever program might have been going on at the time. For all intents and purposes these were the people that appeared to hold the community together.
It’s very easy to look at the spiritual elite, such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, and judge them as blind and haughty. How could they not see the world changing being that was embodied fully in Jesus Christ? Afterall, this group of people was charged with keeping the law. No one would have understood the law and the prophesy of the coming Messiah better. Perhaps, they should have been the first to recognize the arrival of Jesus as the long awaited prophet, priest and king that would change everything.
So why didn’t they get it? Why did they work so hard to disprove Jesus? To challenge him? To make him look like a fraud? It is in my estimation, it seems that these people were too focused on being Jewish than they were about being Godly. They were too busy holding on to what they thought was right than to listen to what Jesus was teaching. The spiritual elite of Jesus day were critical, hostile, and often at times malicious. Focused on their own piety and their own interpretations, they had little time to entertain paradigm shifting events and teaching from the very Son of God.
I’ve been on my share committees, boards, teaching positions, and filled pulpits; how many times have I committed the same egregious actions that the spiritually elite of Jesus day committed? How many times should I have noticed and proclaimed a teaching that was right, but, instead, forsaking it for my own personal preferences? The next question is how many times does this happen in the Christian community at large? Are we too focused on being Christian that we forsake being Godly?
A long time ago when I was in my first position as a pastor I had mentor and friend give me a piece of wisdom that rings in my ears almost daily. He said, “If you’re going to error, error on the side of grace.” How true this piece of Godly wisdom has been year after year. There is a lot of personal thoughts and feeling that percolate through the Christian community, some good, some bad, but more times than not, well intentioned. Having the ability to error on the side of grace rather than holding to what we think is right is one step we can take towards being more Godly.