I was reading a commentary on Proverbs in the Bible and a thought came to me that explained the clash between the Pharisees and Jesus.
Proverbs describes practicing its wisdom as a way to be successful. And successful is described as: a long life, riches, safety, honor, righteousness, justice, equity and every good path. The wise would not walk with sinners, because they may learn their behavior.
Jesus was not rich. And Jesus accompanied “sinners.” He even ate and drank with them. He said it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. The Pharisees sneered at this.
Jesus loved God and people. The Pharisees loved money, power and prestige.
They read the same “Bible.” What was the difference?
When I read Proverbs I naturally read it as I imagine the Pharisees did. Riches are money. Proverbs teach how to get rich. Success is living long, enjoying good health and safety and all that money can buy.
But if I imagine looking through Jesus’ eyes at Proverbs what might I see? Being poor may be being poor in spirit, that is, acknowledging my poverty before God in the things that really matter. Riches may be my love relationship with God and love relationship with others.
Proverbs just may be teaching me how to be rich in love.
Jesus many times did the opposite of what was expected of the Messiah, because the Pharisees misread the Scriptures and expected someone like themselves. The Pharisees were expecting someone who matched their views. Jesus challenged their views; but they thought they had nothing to learn from Jesus and so they dismissed him. They couldn’t refute the miracles, though, so they said the good he did came from evil, from the devil.
So misreading the Scripture started with riches being mistaken for just money, and ended with the unforgivable sin: saying the Holy Spirit is evil.
But there were those who did read the Scriptures like Jesus.
Mark 12:32–34 (NASB95)
32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him;
33 and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.
When you read the scriptures the way Jesus does he offers you Himself.
You are not far from the Kingdom of God (Jesus).
How do you read the Scriptures?