The Mirror of Conflict
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
- Mark 2:16
Can you see the assumption behind the question?
Pharisees and teachers of the law were people who cared a lot about holiness. They did their best to remain within the letter of the law of God. And they tried to protect their community from contamination and from wandering astray.
These men would never have associated with sinners and tax collectors. They would have worried about the optics. What would the crowds think if they saw their spiritual leaders cavorting with law-breakers? Rumors might spread of hypocrisy amongst the Pharisees and lawlessness among the teachers of the law.
They question Jesus’ disciples the way they’d question each other.
So often our hesitations about the people we distrust have as much to do with our own fears and pride as anything having to do with “them.” What we can see so easily in the Pharisees we find so difficult to see in ourselves.
Think about the people you find most challenging. What do the challenges they present to you tell you about yourself? How might Jesus use these relationships to reveal areas of your heart where you need healing and maturity?