The Weight of Others
45One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
Have anyone every thought about why some people stay away from church? Do we ask ourselves why they choose to not fellowship with other believers? Instead we tend to attack them and call their faith into question. We forget to love them and be genuine towards them, while helping bear a very real burden. I have meet so many who are hurting all alone without the blessing of having a true community. Some of us find it necessary to beat them down even further. Maybe we don’t realize how far from what Christ, the Prophets, the Apostles and the early church had envisioned the fellowship of believers to be.
How does this happen? How can a christian not want to be a part of the body of Christ? How can this be when our unity bear witness to our salvation?
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
So what has affected our unity, our oneness and our love for one another? Lets approach this problem like this… Before Jesus addresses the lawyers or lawmakers, he first sets his eyes on the law enforcers. These enforcers are known as Pharisees. You can think of Pharisees as board members of elite community or just an elitist community group. They are the who’s who of the neighborhood, company, school, university, club, organization, family or church. They require all eyes on them as they view themselves in high regard. In their minds we should all be like them. They see all wrongs and offer no solutions. Here is a jewel for you, if they do offer a solution it will never be Jesus Christ as that will steal their glory.
The Pharisees are only concerned with external expressions of righteousness. They truly and honestly could careless about following after Christ. They could careless about obeying God or applying God’s word. They will always constantly add their own ingredients to God’s will, meaning, commandments, applications, and principles. To them it will always be what God said plus what I do/say.
Looking at the account of events recorded by Luke, Jesus is about to eat without washing his hands first. This breaks a law written by men not God. This brings to mind the saying “cleanliness is next to godliness ” which is Ben Franklin who is not an apostle. You can see a direct correlation between what the Pharisees were thinking and what Franklin was implying. They are saying that by doing this fleshy, external, and superficial thing we can be holy, righteous, justified, and godly. They imply that the external will bring us closer to God as they assume that the Father takes pleasure in them. Yet Jesus tell us in John 3 that the flesh cannot produce what is needed to even enter heaven. Further more in Romans 3, Paul write no flesh seeks God nor is good.
5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book. ”
8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
To add to this, Hebrews 11:6 instructs us that only through faith can we hope to please God. And it is faith alone in Jesus Christ not traditions and the law of Pharisees.
Jesus tells them:
“Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.”
Meaning that if you would focus on giving God your heart first, godliness will flow from the inside to the outside naturally. When we fix our eyes on things that are above we will walk in the spirit. When we walk in the spirit, we are connected to the vine. When we are connected to the vine, we bear fruit. When we bear fruit, the Father is glorified. And when the Father is glorified all things flow from heaven down.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
I bring this up because usually the motivation behind such actions are to manipulate God into giving blessings or favor. But what drives the idea of trying to manipulate God is arrogance, pride, greed, idolatry, a sense of accomplishment and self righteousness. As long as we have breath, no one reaches the mountain top. Our sanctification does not end until death or the return of Christ.
But their pride must eat and it feeds off those babies in faith who are entering. It is like vampires as the lawyers add more rules to blind the new christians or the not so mature ones to truth. The babies are only shown their way and are weighed down without help. So we buy their books and attend their conferences as we fill their bellies all trying to grow or get what they say we need. Christ notes that the lawyers don’t lift a finger. Not only that but their words are empty. Their actions flow from the flesh and not the heart. So it becomes hard for them to keep it up long and when another popular minister fall, we are shocked. Their arms grow tired and weak from holding up a righteousness that Christ has secured for eternity. Yet there isn’t a church in America who’s church covenant isn’t stricter than the ten commandments. If its not their covenant then its their traditions that they hold you to more consistently than the fruits of the spirit. You can up hold all the traditions and ignore being loving. Do that and they will call you a saint, calling you a pillar of the community. But we only preach social awareness with no Gospel, no cross, no reconciliation, no justification, no salvation, no adoption, no Jesus. Just the promise of an inheritance right now; just follow the steps.
The answer is Jesus Christ and it will always be him. If we follow him in faith than no matter where we end up, it doesn’t matter cause our joy is in him. When our joy is in him our treasure sits in heaven and not on earth. This way our yokes is light as Jesus is carrying the weight of being perfect.
Glory in the blessing giver and not the blessing alone.
- The more we walk in grace, the more gracious we become (scubalong) (andrewejenkins.wordpress.com)
- Pride Kills Everything (anointedplace.wordpress.com)
- Luke 11 (mybiblereadingplan.wordpress.com)