Sunday, March 13, 2016

John 5:44-47: Focus on Jesus

John 5:44-47: Focus on Jesus
The Jewish religious leaders, at this point, reject Jesus as the Christ, see him as blasphemous, and seek to persecute him. These Pharisees, moreover, are unfaithful to the Father because they reject the Son and instead seek each other’s worldly approval and acknowledgment: “How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?” (44). This sin of pride makes them spiritually blind.

Vainglory always thwarts our true purpose in life, to give God glory in all things. Vainglory is the sin of inordinate pride, and pride, according to C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, is our worst sin:
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. …. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind. (Chapter 8)

According to Jesus, the self-pious religious leaders are wrong in seeking their own vainglory. God’s salvation is through his Son, Who stands in front of them. It is Jesus that Moses writes about in the Torah, and because of their pride, they are too blind to recognize it, reject Christ, and will not have eternal life through him: “For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (46-47).

Am I like the Pharisees, seeking the approval of others rather glorifying God and serving His will? Am I so blind as to miss the loving grace of Jesus in front of me? If I look carefully, I can see Jesus  in my neighbor, but my eyes are too easily closed by the noise of the world.

Please join me in the following prayer:
Loving God, I have sought approval from others when my focus should have been on You. Let me no longer look for worldly acceptance; instead, let me live to better serve and love You so I can better serve my neighbor through Your love. And by Your grace, dear God, let my life glorify You in Jesus Christ's name. Amen.

May the peace and love of Christ be with you all.