Today’s Scripture: And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Matthew 16:14-15
The political parties of the day had a tumultuous relationship with those around them. People did whatever they could to fit into one sect or another. The Sadducees were the liberal bunch who chose not to believe in angels or in the afterlife. Their doctrine stated that there was nothing after death. Meanwhile, the Pharisees were the ultra-conservative group. They believed you could keep the law and in so doing, gain eternal life. Although these two were deeply divided, both opposing parties had a common goal. They wanted nothing more than to silence Jesus.
After Paul presented God’s viewpoint, he pitted the two parties against each other: “But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees…And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” (Acts 23:6-10)
Even though they had seen so many of Christ’s miracles including the resurrection of Lazarus, these people refused to acknowledge Christ as the Savior. (John 12:9-11, 37) Because they had already hardened their hearts against God, miracles did nothing for their unbelief. Doesn’t this situation seem to mirror what we are experiencing today? We have the liberals on one side and the conservatives on the other. Yet, as believers, we do not completely fit with either party because most conservatives don’t even believe in salvation by grace or a literal seven-day creation.
The big question is, “Who say ye that I am?” When it comes to what you believe about God, don’t look to the crowd. There is a lot of public pressure. Is it worth it to proclaim the clear gospel and believe the Bible from cover to cover? Today, the choice is yours. Will you allow your life to display his power through the stands you take or will you let the crowd try to silence His work on the cross?
Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.