Thursday, April 1, 2021
Personally, I do not believe there is anything more heartbreakingly sad than to watch someone performing spiritual duties which they think will improve their standing with God, but in fact are destroying it. I grieve for the masses of people who believe that adherence to the law will save them.
That is how I feel when I read the next section of John’s Gospel describing the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. My heart breaks for religious people who are deceived by what they believe will save them.
John 18:28-32 “Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”
Those who rejected Jesus had a two-fold agenda. They wanted to eliminate Jesus as a threat to their way of life. But while doing so, they also wanted to keep the appearance of religious piety. They did not recognize that their focus on keeping religious laws blinded them to the spiritual truth that was right in front of them. They believed that obedience to religious duty would produce the validation of God. The darkness in them was great. They wanted to kill the Passover LAMB but not be defiled so they could kill the Passover lamb.
For fifteen-hundred years the people had celebrated the Passover to commemorate the LORD’s deliverance from bondage. The Old Testament prophets, which the people read and studied, declared that the Messiah would be like a lamb led to slaughter. The people were described by Isaiah as sheep which had strayed into the bondage of sin. They had every opportunity to understand that the Lamb of God would die for the sheep and save them from their sin. No more sacrifices of lambs would be necessary.
Yet the people were determined to uphold the laws and traditions as their means of earning the approval of God. They were so blinded by their desire to validate themselves that they planned to kill the very One who could save them. They refused to even enter the home of a Roman official because it would disqualify them from eating the Passover and thereby earning their status before God.
My heart breaks for the multitudes of people in the world today who are blinded by the same deception. Every day they carry out their religious duties, hoping that it will earn them the favor of God. Every day their darkness gets darker. The deception of religious duty binds them more tightly.
But Jesus is the Light that shines in the darkness. His death satisfies all the demands of the law. His resurrection guarantees eternal life. We who know the truth must share the truth. Jesus has once-and-for-all paid the price of sin by dying on the cross. Jesus has once-and-for-all gained access to the Father on behalf of all who believe on Him for salvation. Not by works which we have done, but by His mercy and grace He has saved us.
Go and bring the deliverance of Jesus to people who are walking in darkness.
So true! Ramadan is coming — another example of belief that ritual will bring salvation. I have Muslim friends that are heavy on my heart. And yes there are “Christians” who get caught in such a net, too. Thank you for pointing it out in this passage!