Ok, few minutes before the 1st December, 2016, I was flipping through the pages of the Bible when I came across a certain portion in John. It made a lot of sense to me. Jesus have always had bitter encounter with the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes. they have also always professed and accused Jesus of heresy! They hate Jesus with every hate in their hearts and they did everything within their power to see that Jesus was out of the way!
Who are these Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes? They were made up of groups of High Class and middle-class men in those days who either believed they keep all of God’s law or God wasn’t very important in life affairs. The Pharisees saw themselves as holy and perfect people, they obey unimportant rules thinking that is will earn them a place in God’s heart. They controlled the decision making of the Sanhedrin, they controlled the common people too. They believed the Scripture is God’s word but they also believed that certain traditions passed orally held the same authority as God’s word but in contrast to what they think, the Bible says in Deuteronomy 4:2
“Do not add anything to what I command you, and do not take anything away. Obey the commands of the Lord your God that I have given you”
These groups of Jews were in control of the Jewish religious affairs! They were to lead, teach and be the shepherd of the people! And suddenly… Jesus appeared showing them that they have been failing it big time! They would try convincing the people that Jesus was just another clown who wants to seek cheap attention!
Something is worthy of note, they were not doing these things because they didn’t know Jesus was right with his views of God’s word, they knew He was a great teacher, they knew His teachings was supposed but they just couldn’t want to agree because it would scatter their ego. That was why some of them became secret disciples of Jesus… They just did not want to swallow their pride and publicly declare that they believe in Jesus. Nicodemus was one of those who would come to Jesus by night. Hear him
“Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent by God. No one could perform the miracles you are doing unless God were with him” John 3:2
All the above long stories is just to point out one big truth! Do not discredit yourself or feel worthless because of the public opinions of the elites concerning you, sometimes, in their secrets, they admire you and want to learn from you. Nicodemus said to Jesus “we know…”, he would have said “I know…” but for him to use that word, it means they have had a round table discussion about Jesus, they knew he was a great teacher, they knew he was sent from God and they knew He was anointed but one thing was certain, they just did not want to sell their ego and submit publicly to Jesus. Those who came to Jesus, came as secret disciples because they were afarid of what people will say to them, their public image was much more important to them.
Today, these Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees are well represented in our Churches. They include those supposed elders who are ignorant of God’s word and have introduced certain dogma into the Church in a bid to help salvation happen faster. They include lots of decision makers in the Church and unfortunately, they are Pastors, Bishops, Deacons, group leaders and all that! They believe and teach all manner of things. When they eventually see someone arising from nowhere, questioning their teachings and proclaiming God’s revealed word, they get set to throw stones! They may argue that they got born again before you, they may argue that they have experienced service to God even before you were born and therefore question what right you to teach something different from theirs. Before Jesus came to earth, some of those Pharisees have been there but Jesus came and challenged whatever it was they were teaching. They were bitter with Jesus, they challenged the source of His powers and accused Him of being demonic. People do these things, not because they don’t believe those persons have God’s spirit at work in them but their ego can’t just let them agree!
Some of them become secret admireres, some of them become secret followers and some maintain their stand and make up their minds to fight such people with every strength in them. That is why we easily hear ministers attack fellow ministers of the gospel.
How do we approach such people who attack us right from the fold? I think we always have to use the approach of Jesus. When Nicodemus came to Him, He didn’t try to attack Nicodemus or ignore him. He also didn’t get swallowed in Nicodemus praises… He did not compromise His message for anything. He showed Nicodemus that the only qualification of being saved isn’t by our additional works but by His finished work through which we become born again.
It doesn’t matter who they are. Don’t be intimidated by their office, regalia and influence. Don’t be swallowed by their praises and don’t compromise just to please any of them! Somtimes, it is your firm stand in the truth that encourages them to pull off from their shield and really submit to Christ alone.
God bless you.