Jesus: The Way Out Of Confusion
Jesus: The Way Out of Confusion
The religious world is filled with ideas and faiths. Different books offer differing standards by which people should live. Some worship one god; others worship many deities. Some emphasize the deity “inside of each of us.” Multiplicities of religious beliefs are extremely confusing. Even in the “Christian faith” there are conflicting denominational ideas that often leave our heads spinning. How do we find our way out of this malaise and back on the path toward God?
The answer is found in Jesus’ life and teachings. In the first century, great religious divisions existed among God’s people. Greek and Roman influences lay behind many of these differences. Alexander The Great had spread Hellenistic customs, practices, and religions over the world. Later, reaction to Rome’s rule and its religions caused the Jews to splinter further in their unity of faith. Many Jewish sects developed. Sadducees were willing to compromise some of God’s teachings to save the temple and keep their position. They claimed to believe the scriptures but denied that a spiritual realm existed and, therefore, discounted the resurrection of the dead. The Pharisees were opposed to spiritual compromise. Originally, they were determined to carefully keep God’s Word. This effort eventually turned into the exaltation of human ideas and traditions – exalting them even above God’s revealed Will. Jesus was hounded by Pharisees His entire life. Other groups such as the Zealots, the Publicans, and the Herodians had political agendas as well as religious disagreements. The Essenes avoided it all by withdrawing from society and formed smaller religious communities. Confusion reigned!
How did Jesus deal with all these differences? First, there are several things that He did not do. He did not throw up His hands and say, “I give up! There are so many contradictory concepts. Why should I try?” Secondly, He never implied that truth was not essential. He did not suggest that one idea is as good as another. Finally, though Jesus believed truths found in each of the groups we have mentioned, He refused to join any of them.
Jesus continuously meditated on God’s Word. A twelve year old Jesus discussed scripture with Jewish religious scholars. (Lk.2:45-47) Years later, He astounded formally trained Jews with His knowledge of God’s Law and His ability to properly use it. Jesus told them plainly, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” (Jn.7:15-16) While denouncing the hypocrisy of the scribes and the Pharisees, our Lord emphasized the necessity of listening to and obeying the Word of God that they taught. (Matt.23:2-3) Like Jesus, we can make our way through the numerous false and confusing ideas by holding to God’s Word, the Bible. We can help our family and friends by teaching them to do the same.