By Allen White
You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation. Matthew 23:33-36
The Bible teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The Bible also teaches that Jesus is God (Matthew 1:23). The conclusion is that Jesus is also the loving God. This passage, however, doesn’t sound so loving.
Jesus loved the Pharisees, Sadducees and other religious leaders just as much as He loves you and me. The difference is that some of us were more fertile soil for Christ’s message (Matthew 13:1-23). The religious leaders were obviously hard ground – paved over, cemented shut, and covered in RoundUp. Nothing spiritual was growing there.
In gardening or lawn care, when we come to hard, rocky soil, we bust it up. If we want something to grow there we need to make the conditions right for growth. If we only planted grass in hospitable areas of our lawn, we would have little green islands surrounded by red clay and weeds in South Carolina. To have a nice yard, the rocks have to come out, the hard ground must be tilled, and the weeds must be eradicated.
Jesus’ message couldn’t penetrate the hardness of the religious leaders’ hearts. This called for drastic action. This called for a sledge or maybe even a jack hammer. Jesus wasn’t going to allow them to remain encased by the granite of legalism or paralyzed by the stubbornness of pride and tradition. Jesus loved them. They needed to hear the Truth.
What a way to get their attention. Could you imagine hearing Jesus say these words to you? You’d hope He would just bless your heart and move on.
God wouldn’t allow the Pharisees or even us to remain in a stubborn, sinful state. God loves us too much to leave us that way. But, when God begins to knock off our rough edges, it doesn’t feel very good. If we’re wrong, but think we are right, that’s when it hurts the most.
Where is God chiseling away at you these days? How is that pain or problem in your life poking at some area of stubborn disobedience? Isn’t it time to give that thing over to God? Isn’t it time to learn to trust Him? God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.
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