‘If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.’ John 15:22 (NIV)
Are the people Jesus is talking about breaking one of the Ten Commandments? Are they stealing, lying, coveting or killing? Are they not paying tribute to their church or not following the regulations set for them? Or does their guilt run deeper than all the outward expressions? Is the crime they are committing against God Himself? Unlike something that we can see and judge, are they doing something wrong that God has asked them to do? Is it something deep within the heart and soul? Is it something that only God can see? What can their guilt be?
When Jesus calls something sin then it must be a true sin. We may dispute between denominations and cultures. We may say that this is right to do and another thing is wrong. We love to turn our religion into a world of permissible and non-permissible actions. But is this what God has in mind for us? Is the Creator of the stars and constellations that small? Is the Almighty God that limited in His thinking that He would make our eternal fate depend on carrying out mechanical rituals or merely follow rules? Or is it an insult to Him to think He must stoop to our level and to our ways?
Jesus is talking of sin as if it were a crime of a larger size. Instead of saying, “Woops!’ ‘Sorry!’ ‘I´ll try not to do that again!” Could Jesus be talking about something that displays where people´s hearts really lean? Mankind is presented with a choice. We have God, held out to us. We also have ourselves. We can choose which is more important to us. We can choose where every thought and every action will lean for all eternity. We can choose who we believe has the final say. We can choose which we will bow down to.
The people Jesus is talking about are presented with more proof of the reality and nearness of God than any other people in the history of our race. They have God´s own Son demonstrating to them that God is reaching out to them. Their mistake is not in carrying out orders in a correct manner. The crime they are committing is to hold onto those things of theirs instead of letting go of their imagined control. They deliberately choose to follow their own beliefs instead of letting the realization of God sweep over them! Their sin is not letting their hearts open to the fact that God is confronting them. Their crime is in belittling the God of all creation in not believing that He is speaking to them through Jesus! Is this a sizable crime indeed?
Are we willing to accept responsibility for what we are doing with the Presence of God? Are we today willing to look to see what position we are taking in this story? How might we be belittling God now? In what ways are we looking to ourselves instead of approaching Christ? God gave us this marvelous gesture. He sent His Son to be our Way! He gave us this great Gift. He gave us a Guide to bring us before Him in all actuality! Are we letting the words of Jesus open our eyes now? Are we letting Him bring us before God today? Or is there any chance that we are choosing to be blind? Are we sitting a little too easy in our fine-grounded beliefs? Could we somehow be found guilty too?
We lay down any defense our fallen natures might try and give. Let us come before You as trusting children. Show us now if we are looking to ourselves instead of leaning upon You. Is there any way we are depending upon our logic instead of putting our hope in God? Is there any way that we are settling for less reality of God in our lives? Forgive us for our failures. Remove our guilt and place us before the Father today we pray!