Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, where some say Jesus was born
Photo by Darko Tepert Donatus, 2006
46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
53 And every man went unto his own house.
Just as in Part 1, the Pharisees were sure what to look for in the Messiah. They were very sure. All of the prophecies pointed to the Messiah coming from Bethlehem, after all.
2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
So, the Pharisees were right that the Messiah came out of Bethlehem, but that was where He was born! The prophecy said nothing about Him staying there His entire life. So, while they were right, they were also very wrong, and they were wrong about the very things that mattered most.
Not only were they very sure, but they seemingly had Scripture to back them up! How many do you know that can point to a verse here or a verse there to back up their preconceived notions? It is zeroing in on the minor details and missing the bigger picture. It is majoring in the minors.
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
~ Mt 23:23
The Pharisaical attitude of making something large out of something small is alive and well today. Look at just about any controversy in the Church today, and what’s usually behind them is someone who found something small and made a big deal out of while losing sight of the larger picture.
Jesus criticized the Pharisees for allowing men to shirk their duties towards their parents by declaring something “corban”, and thus break the spirit of the Law through their traditions. Many today will distract from the spirit of the Law by picking out a small, often insignificant, item and declaring it as something others are ignoring. They will even go as low as displaying the spirit of the enemy by accusing others of sin where there is no sin, just as the Pharisees hurled accusations at Jesus Himself.
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
~ Jn 15:18
Even religious leaders are not immune from this, for some ask others to leave their services if they are not “one of them”.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
~ Jn 16:2
The Pharisees had pride and an accusing spirit. Many today have pride and an accusing spirit. They are right about some things but completely wrong about the things that matter.