20 December 2016
Reading: John 7-8
47 “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. 48 “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? 49 These ignorant crowds do, but what do they know about it? A curse on them anyway!” (John 7:47-49 NLT)
The Pharisees were the guardians of the Jewish religion. They were committed to enforcing the minutest detail of the ceremonial law. Because of their knowledge, they felt a sense of superiority to the “common people” and considered them of no value. They even harshly spoke a curse on the crowds, the very people they were commissioned to teach and influence for righteousness.
Jesus, on the other hand, the God-sent speaker of truth, was moved with compassion when he saw the crowds – needy, vulnerable, like sheep without a shepherd. Same crowds, different response.
Have you noticed that when you’re running late for an appointment and there are lots of other people on the road, you begin to get frustrated with “The Traffic”? Have you thought of the fact that you, in your car, are part of someone else’s “The Traffic”?
In the busy “Right-Before-Christmas” season we may have to stand in a long line at the post office, or navigate our way through crowded supermarket aisles, or shop for last-minute gifts in stores we’d rather not be in! And all the other people who are fighting the same battle we are, and dealing with the same pressures and frustrations we are facing, become nothing more than “The Traffic” or “The Crowds!”
It’s easy to drift to the Pharisee side of the road. When you’re busy and stretched and trying to get it all done, it’s easy to see crowds and not individuals, and to forget that we’re all rushed and pressured and trying to make the best of it all.
See the person, not the crowd! Make eye contact. Smile. Pray a prayer of blessing. Speak a word of connection. Don’t curse the crowds!
Jesus, Good Shepherd, please keep me away from the Pharisee side of this thing. I want to see people not as “The Crowds,” but as you see them, as sheep needing a shepherd. Help me to bless the person and never curse the crowds. Amen!