Jesus’ disciples usually had to hold their breath as their master kept pulling down the teachings of the religious leaders, as we read in the gospel narratives.
“Here he goes again … what will he say this time?” they might have been thinking, as they braced themselves to his scathing denunciations.
Matthew 15 records Jesus’ devastating criticism of the leaders and teachers of the Jewish Law in one of these confrontations. These men were the backbone of First Century Judaism and were the ones to whom the ordinary people in the villages of Israel looked for guidance. Jesus had torn strips off them for their adherence to human traditions which obscured or even nullified the true meaning of the word of God. The disciples, anxious to maintain religious diplomacy and not rock the boat, came to him and anxiously asked,
“Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
Then there is this truly unexpected reply from Jesus, ignoring their concerns (as he does so often) . . . .
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Mat 15:12-14 (NIV)
Just imagine the ramifications of that!
These men taught and practised many things which were like “plants that my heavenly Father has not planted”. Remember, these were the teachers whose teachings and practices most closely resembled those who would follow Jesus. But the bottom line in the Kingdom of God, Jesus was bringing in is :
Only what the Father has planted will survive
If the Pharisees were blind guides, who was there left to guide the people? And who is there today to show us what the Father has planted?
And who in our current world of 2016 then is not blind? We have countless teachers who will lead untold thousands to fall into a pit of destruction and lostness. Are you following a blind guide?
Our guide must be Jesus. Jesus alone, and his Holy Spirit who speaks to us the things of Christ.
Is your guide your favourite preacher or writer? Or the dogmas of your precious religious party? Or your accumulated assumptions about what God wants from you but which God has never planted?
Many have decided themselves what to plant, what courses of action they will take, but have not heard from the Holy Spirit, from the Lord Jesus, who alone will show what the Father desires.
If the King, is not your guide won’t you “fall into a pit”? If you are not hearing and obeying Him, then are you not obeying a different “father”, like the Pharisees were?
What will be left of all our efforts and strivings if with all our good intentions, our futile plantings will be ripped out by the Father? Take care lest you assume what you are doing is from God.
“We must examine ourselves to see whether we still are in the faith” warns the apostle Paul. What faith? He is referring to the deposit of truth and practice left to us by Jesus and his apostles. Nothing more, nothing less.
We listen to what Jesus teaches, the living word of God, the voice of the Holy Spirit, and obey that, and not the vain traditions of men or what “life teaches us”. If your theology is not Jesus’ theology, cut it off. We must lead people into Jesus not into religious ghettos. Knowing Jesus. Loving him. Right?