Thursday, July 30th, 2009
"You . . . received the Law as transmitted by angels but have not kept it." (Acts 7:53)
The first-century Jewish religious leaders failed to discern the intent of the Law. For example, consider the Sabbath law. (Mark 3:4-6) The scribes and Pharisees “disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness.” (Matthew 23:23) Nevertheless, Jesus did not give up and cease to declare the truth. Jesus had a willing spirit. He was moved by love for people and keenly wanted to help them. He never lost the evangelizing spirit. And because of his faithfulness to Jehovah while on earth, Jesus “became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him.” Moreover, “in that he himself has suffered when being put to the test, he is able to come to the aid of those [like us] who are being put to the test.”—Hebrews 2:18; 5:8, 9.
(Watchtower issue: 02/15/08, 3:7, 8)
*there are 2 extra points I wanted to mention which are especially applicable for anyone who feels discouraged due to friends or relatives who are unresponsive or even opposed to the Bible message on account of their firmly-held religious beliefs or traditions. First off, reading the book of 1 John is particulary encouraging, because it emphasizes the need to display love above all else (which is something the first century Jewish leaders completely ignored in favor of uncompassionately enforcing 'rules and regulations' to the endth degree, thereby missing the whole point of the law)
1 John 4:20 says it all... "If anyone makes the statement "I love God," and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar." and 1 John 3:15 even takes it a step further saying: "Everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer..." So that can help us to remember what the more important things are when it comes to how we treat one another and what God requires of us. And the second point I wanted to mention, was that even Jesus' own fleshly relatives and brothers didn't put faith in him or believe him right away. The account leading up to Mark 3:21 shows how on one particular occasion when Jesus was teaching a big crowd that had gathered at a house, his relatives showed up to come and take him away, since they actually said to themselves: "He has gone out of his mind." (haha. that scripture always makes me laugh) And we know his own half-brother James didn't put faith in him until after his death. So if even Jesus himself experienced such an unreceptive attitude during the years of his preaching activity from his own relatives, that can really bolster us and help us not to worry when we experience a similar attitude from others, since we know many had a change of heart later on, including a large group of priests and Jews who had previously rejected him. So that can help us to perservere in our ministry and maintain a positive, hopeful outlook. =)