Thinking about Christ: Choices, Evidence and Results
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 and call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:1-12 ESV)
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day felt threatened by him, because their identity was based on holding the highest position of authority regarding the law of God.
The people acknowledged that Jesus spoke with authority. They were also encouraged by his words, 28 Come to me… I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
With such encouragement from Jesus, the people were filled with hope and joy, for Jesus was fulfilling the law and was willing to share that fulfillment with any of them who would yoke themselves to him by faith.
Hope and joy were contrary to the way of the religious leaders; they promoted work and fear of the law, which gave them power and control. They viewed Jesus and his message of grace as a major threat to their position, power, livelihood, wealth and security.
The same question is asked of every person, “What do you think about the Christ?”
What you believe about Jesus Christ will chart you on one of two paths. One path will lead to God exalting you and the other path will end with God denouncing you. The choice is yours.
How do you know which path you’re on? The evidence of your life makes the pathway apparent.