Luke 14 v 6. “And they had nothing to say.”
The way the Pharisees worked out their laws was all to their own advantage. If their animal was in danger it represented a loss of money. Therefore it had to be rescued – Sabbath or no Sabbath. But a human being, who meant nothing to them, whom they despised, and who in any case, on their reckoning, was under the judgement of God, was a different matter because if he died they lost nothing.
Thus they displayed that they were not concerned with God’s honour but their own self-interest and the pride they could indulge in because of their own achievements.
But according to Christ, this is wrong. Their spiritual condition was more dangerous to their souls than the poor man’s physical condition was to his health. Acceptance with God and entry into His Kingdom does not depend upon man’s own merit. God never authorised these additional strict laws. There was nothing meritorious about it, in His eyes.
God is concerned with people and their need. That always received priority. On the Cross God displayed to us to what extreme He would go to save people.
The power that false religion, or a wrong idea of the Gospel can have, over the human mind is quite frightening. Here are five things to remember about false religion.
First, at some point it becomes irrational, hypocritical, like these Pharisees who would save a child or an ox on the Sabbath, but not a sick man who was of no value to them.
Second, it loves laws. Laws, regulations, minute points made by the observation of a text of some sort became big issues. It majors on minors.
Third, it always becomes more strict and severe than God himself. Not surprisingly. There is no grace in legalism – only ungrace. Rejection if you do not serve the purpose.
Fourth. It is conniving and scheming like these men who tried to trap Jesus.
Fifth. It never admits it is wrong. They simply keep quiet. Even if proved wrong, their hearts are so hard, they will not admit it.
Finally, remember to leave them alone. You yourself, continue to live a gracious life – that means a life that is full of grace. And God bless you as you do so.