One day, I asked God why He gave the Law and waited so long to send Jesus. All of a sudden, I realized something that I had not thought of before.
The Bible says that God sent Jesus “in the fullness of time”—when the time was right for Jesus to come. Part of that timing was that Jesus had to come at a time when the Jews would sacrifice their perfect Sacrificial Lamb—Jesus. It had to be a time when the people were so hard-hearted that God could come to Earth and do enough miracles to prove that He was God, and yet the Jews would kill Him.
Sodom and Gomorrah were so wicked that God destroyed them with heavenly fire. They even tried to rape the angels that visited their city. Surely they would have been wicked enough to kill Jesus?
Nope! Jesus said, “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee” (Matthew 11:23-24). In other words, despite Sodom’s wickedness, even they would have repented if Jesus had come to them and worked the miracles that He did in Israel.
Given that God also did not send Jesus during the time before the exile to Babylon, we can assume that rebellious, idol-worshiping Israel would have repented if Jesus had come then. After all, Manasseh, one of the most wicked kings that Judah ever had, repented when he was exiled to Babylon. And Godly kings like Hezekiah and Josiah led revivals in Judah.
So who was so hard-hearted that they killed Jesus? The conservative, traditionalist Pharisees. The ones who were determined not to worship idols. The ones who were so zealous about obeying God that they made extra rules to make sure that people didn’t disobey God. They were the ones who were so anti-God that they killed Him. They were the ones who were so set in their traditions that they didn’t recognize God when He stood directly in front of them. In fact, they were so convinced that they were following God that they had the arrogance to rebuke Him for disobeying their laws.
What can we learn from the Pharisees? It is more harmful to add to God’s Word than to disobey it. And, adding to God’s Word and making our own rules can result in hating God and being against Him.
That is a very strong statement, and it is exactly opposite of the way I was raised. Nonetheless, that is what we would gather from investigating God’s timing.
We can also learn that just because a person has a desire to follow Jesus, they are not necessarily following Him or even a child of His. The Pharisees were very zealous about following God. That is why they made all their rules and held people to them. Yet Jesus called them “serpents” and a “generation of vipers” (Matthew 23:33).
Conservatives have told us that “erring on the side of caution” means that you stay as far away from liberalism as possible. The analogy has been used of staying as far away from the cliff of liberalism as possible. The truth is that conservatism is also a cliff, and is a more dangerous cliff than liberalism. It seems that “erring on the side of caution” means that you err on the side of liberalism rather than conservatism.
Actually, we should not err on the side of either liberalism or conservatism–disobedience or adding commands. God wants us to follow Him and not turn to the right or the left. The point is that we need to discern what His will truly is and follow it, not “err on the side of caution” or do extra things to make sure that we’re obeying Him. Those extra rules could actually cause us to reject Jesus.
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. (Titus 1:14)