Have you ever had one of those “aha”, “light bulb” moments when something clicks or you see something that you hadn’t seen before in something you have looked at hundreds of times? I had one such moment earlier this week, and it got me to thinking about our present day society.
On the day Jesus was being tried by the religious leaders before being crucified, there was an interesting exchange between the religious leaders and the Roman governor, Pilate. It is found in John 19. Pilate has examined Jesus and said that he can find no fault in Him. However, the religious leaders wanted to be rid of Jesus and so they say to Pilate, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend” (John 19:12). Pilate had Jesus flogged and after that he brought Jesus out in front of the crowd again. Most likely, Pilate was trying to satisfy the crowd without actually crucifying Jesus. However, it didn’t satisfy their blood-thirstiness. So Pilate says, “Here is your king.” To which the religious leaders replied, “We have no king but Caesar” (v. 15). So what is it that struck me? It was the fact that the Israelites were looking for the Messiah, because the Messiah is going to alleviate the oppression that the Israelites have suffered under. The Romans were certainly harsh to the Israelites. Yet here, the religious leaders are willingly placing themselves under the authority of Caesar. A proper understanding of Scripture will remind us that Jesus was both man and God. Therefore, Israel’s rejection of Jesus is the second time the nation of Israel had rejected God’s will and authority over their lives and nation. The other time is found in the book of 1 Samuel, when Israel wanted to be like other nations and have a king ruling over them (see 1 Samuel 8). Again, why does this matter today?
We are like Israel, especially in our current culture because we too have chosen in many ways to reject God. We do this in a number of ways. One way we do it is when we try to take control of our lives and make life about us, we are rejecting God. Another way we reject God is by rejecting His Word. This is where this story fits in. God has given us His Word, which is truth. And when we reject His Word, we are rejecting Him. But here is the danger; when we change, apply, or ignore parts of Scripture while changing, applying, or ignoring other parts of Scripture. This is what Israel did. They didn’t want anyone to rule over them when they could call the shots. But when it became advantageous to have a king over them, they jumped at it. We must learn that God’s Word is not up to us to decipher or choose what it means. God has given us His Word in clear enough terms that as we depend on the Holy Spirit, He will guide us into the meaning and application of the text. Another important thing for us to remember is this, the Bible is either all true or none of it is true. We cannot pick and choose what parts we like, and which parts we want to ignore. When we do that, we are no longer worshipping God, we are worshipping ourselves. Instead of learning more about God and walking in faith with Him, we are simply elevating ourselves and our opinion. This is dangerous and it can be very deadly if we aren’t careful.
The question really becomes this, do I trust God? Do I believe that He is an all-knowing God? Do I believe He truly knows what is best for me? Do I want to do His will or do I want God to bless my plans? Truth doesn’t change, but the truth will change us. Truth is immutable just as God is.