Friday, February 28, 2020


You've probably heard of the Phariees. These were the Jewish elite that Jesus often took aim at for making things harder for the faithful than they needed to be. The thing about the Pharisees was that they added human tradition on top of God's revelation, and they took it upon themselves to interpret everything God had ever said and determine what it "meant," which often included adding a lot of stuff that God didn't say.

You know, for clarity.

But did you know there's also such a thing as a Christian Pharisee? In fact, there are many of them among us. These are persons who have added interpretation and human tradition to the teachings of Jesus and declared them authoritative, holding the faithful to an impossible standard and making this life of faith much harder than it needs to be.

John warned about them all the way back in the first century, all the way back when Jesus had been gone only a few years, a couple of decades. This kind of thing started, then, right away.

What John says is this - anyone who goes beyond Christ's teachings is a deceiver. Christ's teaching is full and sufficient for all things (2 John).

In other words, what Jesus said is enough. You don't need anything else.

You don't need all of these interpretations. You don't need all of these traditions. It's what the disciples, now apostles, got so wrapped up in in Acts, right? Everyone wanted to know how much of the Jewish law and tradition they still had to keep as they sought to follow this new way. Do they have to be circumcised? Do they have to keep kosher? What's the deal here?

And the disciples, now apostles, keep coming back to this - we're not going to heap a bunch of human requirements onto the new believers. We're just not going to do it. We're going to keep to the basics - the presence of the Spirit, which Jesus promised was coming and would be His sign to believers - and that's enough. What Jesus said is enough.

We spend a lot of our time talking about what Jesus would want us to do, trying to figure out what this or that means. But Jesus told us what He wants us to do. Love God, love each other. Yet, we have invested the last 2,000 years (and counting) to figuring out, like Pharisees, what "love" is. Not because we want to do it better, but because we want to control what kind of definitions the faithful (and the world, I guess) get to use for it. Not because we want to understand who Jesus was, but because we want to defend what Jesus said. It's messed up.

What Jesus said, goes. It's enough. The hard part isn't figuring it out; it's doing it. We weren't supposed to spend our lives perfecting our doctrine, but improving our love. We were never meant to take the words of Jesus and divide and dissect them until every letter became its own book; we are meant to go out and live the abundant life He talked about, however messy that is. Jesus...can't be quantified. He can't be qualified. He has to just be embraced.

And that's enough.

Anything beyond that is deception. You brood of snakes! You hypocrites!

Just go love God, love one another. 

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