and when he had said this, a dissension arose between the pharisees and the sadducees, and the assembly was divided. for the sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the pharisees acknowledge them all. then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “we find nothing wrong in this man. what if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” [acts 23:7-9]


blind and divided.


the world we live in today is so divided, but in the division, there is blindness.  whether it is politics or religion, there is fierce competition to advance a worldview, but in then end, if that worldview doesn’t have its hope ultimately set on Christ, his death and resurrection, it is in vain.


“enter by the narrow gate. for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. [matthew 7:13-14]


intent on their way, the pharisees and sadducees fail to realize, that even if they were right, and if everyone were wrong, they would still be condemned: 


“woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘if anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ you blind fools! for which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? and you say, ‘if anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ you blind men! for which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? so whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. and whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. and whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of god and by him who sits upon it.

“woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. you blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! [matthew 23:16-24]


Jesus pronounces woes upon such people, who would presume their agenda would be fulfilled while neglecting what is the plain agenda of God’s word, and we should heed well these warnings–how often we demand that our way is the right way, and fail to care about the whole counsel of God–we cherry-pick the truth, as these pharisees are doing, then feel smug and self-righteous as the pharisees of acts 23 when our way wins the day.  rather, we should lament–and repent when we neglect to follow Christ as we ought.


Jesus said, “for judgment i came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” some of the pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “if you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘we see,’ your guilt remains. [john 9:39-41]

and so we have a choice each day–we can act like we are not blind, and we can push for our own glory, we can fight for our own will to be done, or we can run into the presence of Jesus, admit to our blindness, and our deep need of him. 


paul went free that day because of God’s sovereignty even in the of the pride of the pharisees, showing that God can work for good, even when men sin–this gives us hope, when we fail, but let us be those who God works mightily in because of his Spirit working through us unto obedience, and not because of our rejection of his truth!  Jesus give us eyes to see and obey!


~ ce