Thursday, October 6, 2022

A Pharisee Kind of Faith

 Thursday, October 6, 2022

Jesus once again addressed them: I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in. The Pharisees objected, All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on. Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. John 8:12-15 The Message

A Pharisee Kind of Faith

It was the Feast of Tabernacles. (The Feast of Tabernacles is also called ‘Sukkot’ which is the Hebrew word for ‘booths’ or ‘tents’. The Jewish people constructed makeshift tents, just as the Israelites while roaming in the desert, for the feast to commemorate their liberation from Egypt by the hand of God. This joyful holiday is a recognition of God's salvation, shelter, provision, and trustworthiness. – Jesus was talking to the Pharisees who were the religious rulers. He told them that He was the light of the world and that anyone who follows Him will not walk in darkness. Jesus wanted them to understand that if we are not following Christ and walking in His light, we are walking in the darkness of sin. Jesus went on to say that He alone gives us plenty of light to live in. 

We can only live one day at a time. We can only take one step at a time. Jesus did not say that He shines a spotlight so that we can see every step we need to take for the rest of the week, month, year, or for our whole lives. He gives enough light to live in, one step at a time, one day at a time. 

The Pharisees didn’t trust what Jesus said. They said that all they had to go on was His word. They wanted more in order to trust Him. They challenged Him because they did not believe He was who He said He was. Jesus said His word was all they needed and that they could depend on it being true. He didn’t offer them more. He didn’t try to make them happy. He just told them that they could trust Him because He knows yesterday, today, and tomorrow what will happen, and they do not. They only know what they can see and touch. 

What if we are just like the Pharisees? Do we want something to believe in that we can only see and touch? Do we want all the answers for all the days, not just for today or this very moment? I know for myself, the answer to that question is often yes. 

Jesus’ words to the Pharisees is all we need to remember when our faith wavers. He knows what tomorrow and the rest of our days hold. We do not. We have no hope because we base our faith on what we can see and touch. Think about that for a moment. Think about your life - what in your life that you can see and touch will give you the faith you need to get through this life? What is in your life that you can see or touch that gives you hope? Is there more in your life that steals your hope rather than gives you faith to face another day? 

Everything we can see or touch will fade away. None of it is eternal and none of it is truly dependable. Even the people who love us can or will fail us because they are human. When we do not trust Jesus to be all the light we need to live by, we challenge who He really is. When we ask Him for more – something to see and touch – to give us hope, make us feel better, or to trust in, we are doubting in our hearts that He is all we need. 

It is natural as humans to want to be able to see and touch what we believe in. Faith does not come natural for us. Some of us are living in situations that bring no hope at all. A lot of what we see and can touch and what we feel every day makes us feel hopeless.  So if all we have to hope on is what we can see and touch in this world, there is no hope at all. We can trust Him. We can believe that He hold tomorrow – all of them – and He will guide us every step of the way, and that is all that we can truly be sure of in this world. 

What kind of faith will you choose? Will you trust in a sovereign God that you cannot see or touch? Or will you choose a Pharisee kind of faith - insisting on trusting in only what you can tangibly see and touch? We can trust that Jesus is who He says He is. We have seen the evidence of His faithfulness in the lives of those around us and in our own lives time and again, yet we still grasp desperately for what we can see with our own eyes and touch with our hands. There is absolutely no gain in choosing the world in front of our face instead of making Him the King of our heart. He is trustworthy. He is true. He is everlasting. He will never leave us, never betray us, never discard us, never forsake us. Stop grasping for what is not real even though you can see it and touch it. It will never give you what you long for and need. It will lead you way from the light and off of the path. Trust Him. Walk in His light and find everything you need.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17


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