Near the beginning of Jesus' ministry, a man was brought to Him who was paralyzed. There was no way to bring the man into the place where Jesus was teaching so he was lowered through the tiling on the roof.
The first thing Jesus said to the man was "Your sins are forgiven." Immediately the scribes and Pharisees started talking among themselves complaining about this man who claimed he could forgive sins. Why did Jesus say to the man "Your sins are forgiven" when he obviously came for physical healing? Could it be that Jesus wanted to prove who He was to the scribes and Pharisees?
After calling Levi (Matthew), who was a tax collector, Jesus went to a great feast given at his house. There were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. Almost immediately, the scribes and Pharisees started complaining to the disciples. They whined about why Jesus ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners.
Jesus and His disciples went through the grain fields plucking the heads of the grains and rubbing them in their hands. Once again the Pharisees (who seem to always be around) complained to the disciples. This time it was about doing unlawful things on the Sabbath. Jesus proceeded to remind them of David going into the house of God and taking some of the showbread to feed himself and his men.
Jesus then had the audacity to heal a man whose hand was withered on the Sabbath. Again, the scribes and Pharisees pounced upon Jesus. His question to them was; "is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?" With that, Jesus told the man to stretch forth his hand and when he did; he was healed.
The scribes and Pharisees were filled with rage and started discussing among themselves what they should do to Jesus. From the very start of Jesus' earthly ministry, he succeeded in riling up the scribes and Pharisees to the point they were, even then, looking for ways to destroy Him.
Some might say that if Jesus would have just healed the paralyzed man instead of first saying "your sins be forgiven , He could have kept the scribes and Pharisees as "friends". Some would say that if Jesus would have just not gone to the dinner party Levi threw, then He could have kept the scribes and Pharisees from judging His actions and associations.
Some might say that if Jesus would have not led his disciples into the grain fields to rub the heads of the grain on the Sabbath, He would have not kindled the rage of the scribes and Pharisees. And of course, some would say that if Jesus would have just picked another day to heal the man with the withered arm other than the Sabbath, the scribes and Pharisees might have left Him alone.
Yes, some might accuse Jesus of "blowing it" by deliberately doing and saying things which agitated His enemies. I would say to anyone who thinks this way; if Jesus "blew it", then He was not our redeemer and Savior. Jesus always did the Father's will, so whatever He did was what God wanted done. God wanted Jesus from the very start of His ministry to confront the hypocrisy and error of the religion promoted by the scribes and Pharisees.
I thank God that our eternal destiny is not determined by bowing down before the high and mighty religious leaders who demand people live according to their rules. Regardless of what religion says, we should choose to live and speak what God says, even if it irks and angers the modern day scribes and Pharisees. I believe that is what Jesus would do.
This is a great blog, as usual B2y.
There have been many, many times that I have hesitated in saying something to someone for fear of being too blunt and "blowing it." Now, there is no reason to be completely without tact, and of course we should move only as the Holy Spirit guides. But, something else had been guiding me at those times- self-interest.
Thank you for writing this one.
Right now I am thinking that God's ways definitely are not our ways and I'm also thinking it is a good thing they are not. At the moment, I am considering some of the results of doing things my way as opposed to God's way.
While we may not always understand it, God's way is best!