The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" (Luke 5:21 NASB)
These scribes were an interesting sort. Their profession completely involved the Scripture. They were the ones who painstakingly copied Scripture, and there were strict rules for the process. Special ink, special hides to write on, special procedure. No two letters could touch. If they did, the entire manuscript had to be recopied. The presence of errors requiring correction could invalidate the entire manuscript and necessitate that it be completely redone. The rules might seem nitpicking, but they were designed to assure the accuracy of the reproductions. We can count on those manuscripts that have survived to be true to the
Because of their familiarity with the word of God, the scribes were often teachers in the synagogues and functioned as attorneys in questions of the law. Those nitpicking rules designed to protect the law became greatly expanded, and they turned the law from something intended to protect and help the people into a heavy burden that made life infinitely harder. The problem was a matter of perspective. The scribes worked with Scripture on a daily basis. They knew the words with their heads, but not as well with their hearts. As a result, the law became perverted into an instrument of condemnation instead of a tool to draw people to God.
The scribes were saying by their actions in expanding the law that they knew better than God. In making all those extra rules, they were putting themselves on an equal footing with God. He makes rules? So can we! In all that rule-making, they became so short-sighted and focused on compliance that they missed the One who came to free them from the law!
It's easy to have the same spirit of condemnation, isn't it? When we see the sin in the lives of those around us, it is all too easy to count their sin and compare it to our own. We usually come out pretty well in that kind of comparison, don't we? What we sometimes forget is that Jesus came because of all Sin equally - ours as well as the sin of others.
Today, as we begin to pray for and focus on our loved ones, let's avoid the list of sins they might have accumulated. If any sins are mentioned before The Lord, make it our own. Let's confess for ourselves and pray that our loved ones will be drawn to the Divine Relationdhip only Christ can Bring. When hearts are changed by the Spirit, behavior is sure to follow.