15 Jul Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, & Zealots (FACING JERICHO Day Four)
Thought for the Day: Jesus is our Messiah!
For countless years, the Jewish people waited for the coming of the Messiah. Until the ministry of Jesus, the Jewish people faced a time of confusion and division with the rise of occupying governments. Trying to make sense out of a time of waiting, four groups misguidedly attempted to follow God. The Pharisees believed legalism was all they needed, while the Sadducees believed they needed to compromise their core values based on secular culture. The Essenes believed they needed to break off from society and live in the wilderness. Lastly, the Zealots believed the Kingdom of God could be achieved by violently overthrowing the occupying government.
Ultimately, all four groups missed the mark. We can also be led astray during times of waiting in similar ways. Sometimes we can try and follow the rules and guidance from Scripture with a legalistic view like the Pharisees instead of accepting God’s grace. Other times we can make a compromise to fit into society instead of being a light in the darkness. We can also feel like we need to do the opposite at times, and totally remove ourselves from popular culture. Like those living in the First Century, we sometimes misunderstand Who (or what) our Messiah is. Jesus does not ask us to be legalistic or compromise our core values. He also does not ask us to hide in the desert or resort to violence. Jesus is our Messiah and He asks us to follow Him!
God sent John the Baptist to prepare the people for Jesus. While the Jewish people outwardly said they wanted to see the Messiah, they all had their own ideas for Who (or what) that Messiah would be. They needed someone to first come and be “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” How is God preparing you in this season? Are you in a time of waiting like the Jewish people for the Messiah? No matter what season we are in, let’s remember that Jesus is our Messiah, and will always lead us!.
Pastors Stan and David