Words of Faith 11-2-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why didn't you bring him in?"
 "No one ever spoke the way this man does," the guards declared.
 "You mean he has deceived you also?" the Pharisees retorted.  "Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him?  No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law--there is a curse on them."
 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked,  "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?"
 They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee."
 Then each went to his own home.
The chief priests and Pharisees had sent an arresting party, who failed in their mission. Why? Did the crowds overpower them? Did Jesus use supernatural strength? No. Actually they got interested in what Jesus was saying and found their hearts being touched by Him!
Who would have thought? Well, certainly not the Pharisees and Sadducees who sent them! The Temple guards came back saying, "Never did any man talk in this fashion!"
The Pharisees were obviously irate. "No one of the Pharisees has believed in him, has he?" There was a religious snobbishness among the leaders and teachers that was revealed in their contemptuous dismissal of the guards' testimony. Nobody could be “right” except themselves. If they did not believe in Jesus, he must be unreliable and his claims fraudulent. They regarded people as ignorant of the law and incapable of intelligent faith.
Nicodemus spoke up. Remember him? The one who came to Jesus at night? He was a religious ruler. He raised a legal technicality. "Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?"
Nicodemus may have felt that if he championed Jesus' cause unequivocally, he would lose his case. If he raised a legitimate legal objection, he could prevent an immediate drastic action.
The reply to Nicodemus was filled with contempt. "Are you from Galilee, too?" Galileans were viewed as crude, ignorant and gullible. The leaders clearly looked down on anyone who did not have their knowledge of the Law.
So what do we gather from this encounter?
First, we must never forget that the Lord can influence the most unlikely of people. It should not surprise us that the Temple guards were touched. Why would we think that those God desires to save are only among a certain group? We must never “write off” a person because of their vocation, lifestyle or outward appearance.
God was obviously working in the heart of Nicodemus as well as the Temple guards. At the foot of the cross, even a hardened Roman soldier will be touched. Never write off anyone. As Jesus pointed out, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment" (John 7:24).
Second, we must hear the profound warning against spiritual snobbery. It happens in churches. It happens in seminaries. It happens in almost any religious culture. We begin to think that one group of people has a better handle on who the Lord is or that one way of worship is better or more spiritual than another. We start to look down a bit upon those who are “not yet where we are”.
Spiritual snobbery might be based in intellectualism, Bible knowledge, theological acumen, emotional experience, or spiritual gifts. It really doesn’t matter. We never have the right to look down on anyone, especially someone who is coming to faith.
Is there anyone you have “written off”? Someone you have silently declared “unreachable”? Today is a great day to pray for that person. Have you looked down on any believer or group of believers because of their beliefs, knowledge, practice or experience? Today would be a great day to seek forgiveness and begin rejoicing that the Lord draws all sorts of people to Himself.
Lord, I give thanks for the richness of Your plan and calling. I rejoice in knowing that You are working in all sorts of people quite beyond my ability to comprehend. Forgive me for when I have failed to see Your Spirit at work. Forgive me for judging by appearances. Give me eyes to see Your Spirit at work in people. I pray in the grace and mercy of Jesus, my Lord.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2002, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.