Let’s take one last look at the Pharisees. Do not forget that they were the conservative evangelicals of the day. They were not out of the mainstream, nor were they theological liberals. They were fighting with everything they had for the supremacy of the Scriptures in Jewish life and practice. They were standing resolutely against the pagan influences of Rome. The problem was in their zeal for the Scriptures and Jewish morality they failed to be the demonstration of a people that God desired and in failing to be that demonstration, they were blinded to truth when that demonstration stood among them.
I often tremble at how smug we Protestants seem to be. We waste no time in condemning the blindness and legalism of the Pharisees, but it makes me somewhat nervous that we are so confident and self assured. In a gospel environment such as the west where the average church attender, or even minister, is incredibly Biblically ignorant in comparison with the Pharisees why is it that we are so confident that we would not reject Jesus? Is it not troubling that modern sermons primarily make the statements and requirements of Jesus figurative rather than literal so as to allow us to remain comfortable in a conservative, American culture? How many ministries dare to challenge the culture beyond the moral conflicts already noted?
Friends I believe each of us should tremble before God and before His Word and allow Him to give us revelation on this issue. If the evangelicals of Jesus’ day missed His coming I have little confidence that we are as in touch with His second coming as we tend to think we are. There is a gnawing ache down in me that makes me wonder whether we would really accept the Son of God should He come as He is or are we in expectation of the return of Jesus as we ourselves have made Him? Could it be that an emphasis on outward morality could blind us to the truth? Could it be that in contending for that which is right we could be blinded to truth?