Scripture Reading: John 5: 16- 23, Matthew 9:1-8,, John 5: 31-47

“You do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me – the one he sent to you.”

Jesus

Let’s look in depth at scripture today and the legalism that Jesus confronted by the Jewish priests prior to his arrest. Pilate quickly learned in his tenure that the Jewish leaders were driven by legalism. In the words of the apostle John, “the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. Then the leaders tried even harder to find a way to kill him, while in Jerusalem.

While Jesus was in Capernaum, near his home town, Jesus said to the Pharisees and religious leaders “why do you have such evil thought in your hearts?” These leaders were so driven that they eventually showed up from every village in all of Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem. (Luke 5: 17) Interesting fact, during this time period, the name for the sea of Galilee was changed to the Tiberius Sea, after guess who? The emperor himself.

And then Jesus does not hold back, in John 5. “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life, but the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love with you.” Mark, one of the gospel authors, wrote soon after this commentary from Jesus, ” the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus. “

Remember this Herod was not “Herod the Great’, but Herod Antipas. He was the tetrarch of the region of Judea. No longer was there a King of Judea, but all the regions of Palestine were separated into four regions. Historically some believe that Pilate and Herod Antipas may have been in competition for the people’s hearts and for power of this region. So it’s interesting that in this verse the Jewish leaders met with the supporters of Herod. The plot only thickens. Tomorrow we will meet the High Priests that actually arrested Jesus.

So, why do you think the Jewish people had settled in to such a legalistic lifestyle? Was it the only thing they had to hold on to after years and years of oppression? We have to be careful ourselves to not go down the same road. We want to be certain that God’s message is in our hearts and we have God’s love within us. It only takes a prayer of faith asking God for certain that you know him and you believe in his son Jesus as the chosen one.