God’s sake or self interest?

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible readings: Acts 22:17-23:10; Psalm 2:1-12

READ (verses for reflection)
Acts 23:9 “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?”

REFLECT
The Pharisees found “nothing wrong” with Paul because it seemed that he agreed with their doctrines on angels, resurrection and spirit. However, we read in the Gospels that although the Pharisees agreed with Jesus on some of His teachings; they were too concerned with the letter of the law. For example, they were so concerned with keeping “clean” that they missed the point about the coming of the Messiah; who came for sinners and not those who regard themselves righteous. In the context of Acts 23, I wonder if the Pharisees’ contention of Paul’s innocence had to do with more of their self-interest than the love for justice. In other words, were they shouting for Paul’s innocence to justify their own belief? Or were they purely arguing for his innocence based on what they believed to be true? It seemed to be the former as the dissension became violent. (ref: Acts 23:10)

RELATE
Do we serve the Lord in purity? Or do we have our own agenda to fulfil? Do we give support and encouragement to a ministry leader just because he or she agrees with us; but rule away or despise those who do not? Are we sincere in learning to love all people; regardless of their belief? Or do we play favourites? Are we able to be fair in our evaluation of a person’s present actions even we know that this person has a history of bad behaviours? Or do we prefer the easier way of seeing people with coloured lens? May the Lord help me to the answering and fulfilment of His righteousness to these questions.

REST
God Almighty, I cannot hide anything from You. Search my heart and reveal to me any strain of self interest. Help me to cut off such impurities and learn to love people and serve You with purity, sincerity and truth. Amen.

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