Quite certainly we would be alone if we were to put forth the idea of reading of the Gospels by placing ourselves in the place of the Pharisees. Jesus had so much to say against their teachings and their ways that for sure nobody would want to stand to such accusations.
However there may still be some who are serious enough about learning from Jesus and honest enough to themselves to recognize our grave need for God.
Although we could lump people together in far more groups, for now let us limit it to just two. On one hand we have the Disciples and people who sought Jesus out of some deep personal need, and on the other hand we have the Pharisees, Sadducees, the church leaders and the teachers of the law.
Now there are many texts to prove that we are somehow special to God and have the right to claim to be on the side of Jesus and His followers. It would be extremely comforting to think that we were always there with Jesus and we would be able to lay hold of that claim if it weren´t for one thing. Sin.
Unfortunately long before you and I were born, our family, (the human race) was sold into slavery. Ever since that day we have been inflicted with this evil disease that encompasses each and every one. Sin has dominated our natures and taken up residence in our centermost being which was originally intended for God alone.
Throughout the Bible this message is given to us along with our need for the restoring and healing power of Jesus Christ. All mankind is urged to turn from the cleavage that evil has over us and return again to restoring God to His rightful place of Lordship and intimate relationship. The presence of sin in our natures makes it impossible for God to be present, thence our need to turn from us to Him. Christ is the only One who has the power to overcome sin so we need Him more than we do the air we breathe.
But why would we place ourselves in the incriminating position of known unbelievers and the very people who crucified Jesus? This group of people stood always in the way of Jesus, giving Him a hard time about everything. On the other hand, His Disciples listened to Him and followed Him everywhere. Isn´t that were we should see ourselves?
In Matthew 16 verses 2 through 4, Jesus turns His attention towards one of the groups. He describes how they interpret times and weather. He also reminds them that there are spiritual things and times which they cannot interpret. Then He says a generation of impure people asks for signs from above.
Is there anything mentioned in these verses which you and I are free from guilt? Are we not continually blabbing on about what we can see and what we know, when all the while God is working on different and deeper levels? Do we not constantly seek signs from God for proof that we are right and justified in our ways of thinking and acting?
Perhaps it is time to look at ourselves one more time. Maybe you and I could use some moments before the judgment seat of God. Guilt, we all carry. But justification can only come from repentance and from the healing presence of Jesus Christ. If we were able to place ourselves in the group that included the Pharisees and religious people of Jesus´ times, perhaps we would be in a better position to find a turning point and blessed healing from that disease we each have had since the fall.
Dear Lord, please help us recognize just how deep sin and evil nature is embedded inside our hearts. Show us just how far to throw ourselves upon You for mercy and for healing. Perhaps the only way we might save ourselves from deception is to incriminate ourselves further then seek your help. We would turn, please show us how.