Summary: The Pharisees did not experience life change because they had a different belief. Don't replace the relationship with a religion. Don't make the outward more important than the inward.
RECAP – John 20:24-28. We saw last week how Thomas finally saw Jesus alive and uttered the most profound statement of faith – “My Lord and My God!”
(1) LET GO of our Agenda – don’t cling on to the demands we set.
(2) CHOOSE to have faith - faith is a choice we make; it is not a feeling.
(3) SEE Jesus as He truly is – study the Word and overcome fear, pride and doubt.
Thousands heard Jesus and saw him in real life. We know that because at least more than 5000 were fed on one occasion.
• Thousands may be there but few followed. Among the followers, few believed.
• Life change is possible but not all will experience it. Not because Jesus is powerless to affect a change, but the people were not prepared to believe Him.
Among them were the Pharisees. We want to take a look at them today, and understand what prevented them from trusting Jesus.
• Despite the fact that they were learned people, steep in the knowledge of the OT Scriptures.
• Most of them knew it by heart, but they failed to recognise their Messiah.
Why? I think the simple reason will be - they did not see the light. They were blinded to the truth. By what?
• What obstructed their view? Their own set of belief. Or to be more precise, their own interpretation of the truth – the Scriptures.
• The Pharisees knows that the OT Scriptures as the inspired Word of God and it points to Christ, their Messiah. But when the Messiah stood and spoke before them, they were unable to recognise Him.
The Pharisees had gotten a different picture of the Messiah and a different understanding of what salvation means.
• They did not experience a life change because LIFE CHANGE can only take place when you recognise Jesus as He truly is – the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world.
• Any other understanding apart from this will make it a RELIGION – just a set of rules and rituals for behaviour. Rules will not change you.
I want to share with you TWO major flaws in their understanding. No life change has taken place for them because…
THEY REPLACED THE RELATIONSHIP WITH A RELIGION
They have a RELIGION no doubt, but no RELATIONSHIP with Jesus and with God.
• The Pharisees were aiming at another target. Instead of following Jesus, they were following rules and rituals, and putting their faith in them to be righteous.
• Are we aiming at the wrong target?
Matt Emmons was world champion shooter in the early 2000s. He won a few world championships in shooting. In the 2004 Olympics, something odd happened.
He was competing in the 50m 3-position rifle event. For the last round, he didn’t even need a bull’s-eye to win. His final shot merely needed to be on target. Normally, the shot he made would have received a score of 8.1, more than enough for a gold medal.