But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John. (Luke 7:30 NASB)
The Pharisees and the lawyers were the most educated people in Israel. They were experts in the law and could argue with the best of them. Unfortunately, they "rejected God's purpose for themselves". The topic Jesus had been discussing was that the greatest would be least in the Kingdom of God. These men were, in one sense, the greatest in Israel. They were among the smartest and most successful. They were among the most respected, and they enjoyed being greatest.
Being least did not appeal to them at all. In fact, if they couldn't be greatest, they wanted no part of Jesus. "Rejecting the purposes of God for themselves" meant that they rejected the servanthood and humility that were central to Jesus's teachings. This business of being least held no appeal at all.
Pride was certainly a part of the problem, but there was a more important problem here. The Pharisees and the lawyers had not been "baptized with the baptism of John", which was a symbol of the repentance of and forgiveness for sin. Because they had not understood the depth and consequences of their sin and their unworthiness before a Holy God, they could not understand the greatest being least. They had missed the fundamentals, and it made all the difference.
Just as a child must learn the basics of the alphabet and the sounds of the letters before he can learn to read, so we must learn the basics of our sinfulness and our need for a Savior before we can embrace the purposes of God for ourselves. When we understand the enormity of the sinfulness of man, we can begin to understand the incredible grace involved in the love of God.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23 NASB). It is a simple concept to understand, but all too easy to miss. We are sinners. Most of us know that inherently. What we can easily miss is that our sinfulness comes at a tremendous price. We fall short of the glory of God, and only the grace of God can pay our debt.
Pray today that we, and our dearly loved ones, will not only recognize our sinfulness but also have a deep and overwhelming desire to be right with God through His amazing grace.
Here's the link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-glaze.html