The Jews’ Feasts #3

Friday, July 18, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Judaism as it existed in Jesus’ day was certainly not the unadulterated Word of God given at Mount Sinai. During the 15 centuries since Moses, the rabbinical scholars had corrupted it. Ironically, what God had given to Israel to indicate her sin problem was now the very system she was using to advertise her “righteousness!”

Take, for example, Matthew chapter 9: “[10] And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? [12] But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. [13] But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Did you notice how the Pharisees considered others to be “sinners?” These religious leaders themselves were—they assumed—to be without sin! Such Old Testament “scholars” so totally void of Scriptural understanding! What had they been reading? They had the Hebrew Bible (our Genesis through Malachi) but they had read it through the lens of religious tradition. Hence, they could not see what they should have seen. Yea, they did not want to see what they should have seen.

Read this sardonic rebuke the Lord Jesus had for Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” They focused on dividing the tiny herbs and spices into tenths—their tithes as instructed by Moses!—but they ignored the more important principles of the Law. Judgment, mercy, and faith (!) were absent from these religionists’ hearts and lives. Indeed, it was no longer God’s religion….

Bible Q&A #630: “What does the Bible say about lunar exploration and settlement?