Religious Pride and Deception 6

Jeremiah 8:8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie. 11 “They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

Matthew 9:18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”21 Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”

The claim that Jesus Christ puts on His disciples is absolute. He tells them to deny themselves and to take up their crosses daily in order to follow Him. He tells them that they must hate their relatives and their lives if they are to follow Him. He tells them that they must be humbled as little children in order to be born again. But these things are easily ignored by the proud and the self-absorbed. They think that they can follow Him as they please and that they can follow Him and have the world too. This is too much for the proud and selfish heart and so that heart must deny Christ or change His commands and/or standards.

In Matthew 9:19 a scribe came to Jesus and told Him that he would follow Christ wherever He went. Jesus, who knew the hearts of all men, had an answer for the scribe that went directly to his selfish and proud heart. We can see that the scribes and Pharisees lived easy lives as compared with the average person. The scribes did not labor or work as the normal person did, but instead they were able to spend their days in study and in discussions of religious things as they pleased. But they did not have many hard things that came around to them.

The same thing is true today as well. Scholars spend their time studying the things of religion in an academic way and they make quite amount of money in one sense. They spend their time in study and discussion and for the most part have easy lives. As long as they publish enough and stay close enough to established beliefs they don’t have much to worry about. What we must see is that there are direct parallels from the time of Jesus to the modern times. While there are certainly differences, there are also many parallels that we must take note of. What we must see is that it was and is far easier for scholars to debate and write about the Bible than it is for them to follow Christ in life as a whole. It is far easier to debate and write on what it means to follow Christ than it is to actually in real life follow Christ.

The scribe in the historical narrative as given by Matthew came to Jesus and told Him that he would follow Jesus wherever He went. Jesus’ reply, however, was surely an arrow to the heart of the man and the heart of self. In other words, Jesus told the man that he would have to give up his life of ease and life of a scholar to truly follow Him. This scholar would have to leave his house of comfort and family and follow Christ who had no pillow and no creature comforts to speak of. This scholar would have to leave his life of books and nice discussions and follow Christ as a common man and suffer the hardships of being virtual beggars while being ridiculed.

Oh how this is so contrary to human nature and to a person that is used to living an easy life that has few trials or hard things. The proud heart cannot bear to hear that it might be ridiculed and that it might have to live the life of a beggar. The selfish heart cannot bear to hear of losing all of its status in life and all of its belongings to traipse around the country being ridiculed by former colleagues. We have no record whether this particular scribe left everything or not to follow Christ, but we can see that Jesus answered people according to what was the hardest thing for them to turn from and follow Him. The rich young ruler had to sell all he had and give to the poor. The scribe would have to leave all comforts and follow Christ. However, it is one thing for us to talk about the scribe, but it is quite another for each person to follow Christ him or herself. It is not enough to know that we are to follow Christ, we must actually follow Him. It is not enough to know that we should repent of our darling sin or sins, but it is quite another to seek the Lord to tear that damnable pride out of our hearts and grant us humility before Him. Our proud hearts do deceive us in these things as they have deceived others for millennia. Will we seek Him in truth for true repentance from pride and self?

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