To some people, looking for the negatives in others is a daily exercise. Exposing the flaws in others seems to elevate self-worth and justification of one’s own weaknesses. Sometimes, spiritual arrogance propels people to judge and expose the flaws, or imaginary flaws, in others. The hatred for Jesus by the religious community was an obsession. From the Sanhedrin, Scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees, to the Herodians, Jesus was the target of their “witch hunt.” These religious leaders saw in Jesus a threat to their authority. Their power and limited presentation of the Scriptures was what kept the Jewish people from the Truth. When Jesus came and exposed their hypocrisy, He became a marked man. Jesus was to be stopped, no matter what the cost.
I wish today that Pastors would be judged by the message they bring, instead of by how they conduct the everyday activities of the church. When people major on insignificant things and neglect the spiritual matters, it will not be long before a church is divided and Satan has the opportunity to infiltrate its core. Whenever people come together, there will always be differences of opinion. But when an opinion supersedes spiritual matters, conflict will arise. This is where “fake news,” rumors, and gossip take center stage. People will tend to believe unverifiable stories rather than trying to find out the truth. The Christian organization Lifeway, states that 80% of Pastors expect conflict in their churches. I would even go so far as to say that 95% of the conflicts would pertain to non-spiritual matters. God loves unity; Satan loves division. God inhabits the praises of His people; Satan thrives in human disputes.
If Jesus could be caught verbally expounding teachings that conflicted with the Holy Scriptures, He would be labelled a deceiver and false prophet; or worse, a representative of Satan’s kingdom. In Mark chapter twelve, Jesus will be questioned by two groups of people all with the objective of trapping Jesus in His words. Some Pharisees and Herodians came to Jesus to ask Him a question about whether they should pay taxes. At first, they released a group of statements which were true, but ironically they did not believe what they were saying. Jesus saw right though their hypocrisy and said, “Why do you test Me?” He then takes a coin and illustrates that a person should give to Caesar what is Caesars and to God what is Gods. (Mark 12:13-17) We need to watch for people who have the right words, but the wrong motives. The Christian language is used so freely by people who have no real belief in what they say, as evidenced by their actions. Some businesses use Christian words in their advertising, just to get Christians to use services/products, even though they are not true Believers. Language without a Biblical definition is hypocrisy in action.
In another incidence, a group of Sadducees gave Jesus a hypothetical question pertaining to relationships in Heaven. (Mark 12:18-23) Jesus exposed their trap by telling them they did not know or understand the Scriptures. Through Biblical illustration, Jesus simply told them their question had no validity. (Vs. 24-27) Believers need to avoid foolish questions, and be careful in entering into dialogues with people who are not sincerely interested in the Truth or just want to argue Scripture. (II Timothy 2:23) The Sadducees asked about the resurrection even though they did not believe in the resurrection. (Matthew 22:23) As Christians, we need to understand that just as Jesus was targeted, so every Believer will be the aim of Satan’s recruits. (John 15:20) If we have not been targeted, it says something about our commitment.