Scripture Reading: Romans 9: 30- 10:4 , John 18: 3-14

 “Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.  Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. “

Paul, the apostle to Jesus

As I was studying the book of Romans last week, I found that Paul’s letter applied so well to where we were headed historically. If you have ever heard the gospel story or been to sunday school of any sort, you have heard the term pharisees, sadducees, the high priests; the great students of the law during Jesus’s life time. These group of men studied, obsessed, and lived for the law of Moses. So much so, that they were blinded by the light, that is the light of Jesus.

While Pilate was governor of Judah, he quickly was exposed to the hierarchy of Jewish politics. Judea was a roman imperial province, and Pilate was it’s “prefect”, a political term for the roman leaders. Pilate learned very quickly that his new post of Judea was going to be quite challenging. The Jewish system was set up into the ruling senate called the Sanhedrin’s which was headed by the high priests. Caiaphas and Anna’s mentioned in our readings in John, both had served as high priests and worked closely and sympathized with the Roman officials. The second tier of politicians were the scribes, which spent years studying the Hebrew law of Moses.

Pilate soon discovered how important the law was to his new neighbors after a protest ensued due to a placement of insignia’s representing the emperor near the holy city. According to history, thousands of protesters filled the city of Caesarea in defiance of the law broken by the empire, God’s law that no idols of humans should be made. Pilate supposedly tried to hold his ground, threatening their demise but was swayed after continued protest and the Jews won their first conflict with Pilate.

Jesus spoke on many occasions about the the Jewish high priests, the religious sects, the sadducees and pharisees, and their proclivity to the law. Paul in our text in roman’s does a great job summing up what happens in our lives if we only live according to the law and not by faith. “For Christ has accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result , all who believe in him are made right with God.” ( Romans 10:4) The Jewish people of this time period did not understand God’s ways of “making people right with himself”. They clung “to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.”

Do you struggle with legalism? I do sometimes. Even today at work, a student under my care, was caught in a lie. I struggled not to feel anger and or worse turn him in to his academic supervisor. Asking the Holy Spirit for guidance, I put the transgression in perspective and decided to give the student mercy. Ask the Holy spirit today if there is something in your life that you need to give mercy to or for. Are there rules or laws that someone in your life has broken and you are struggling to forgive them for their transgression? We are led to pursue righteousness through faith not through works, and that those goes for your neighbor , your brother, and you.