Unfortunately, some of the most powerful and influential people with whom Jesus dealt were the religious leaders of His time, many of whom were openly hostile to Him.
Yet, even in His encounters with them, Jesus always sought to be redemptive. He wasn’t seeking arguments; He was seeking the salvation of all people, even of those powerful and influential people who would eventually condemn Him to death.
Read Mark 2:23-28, 3:1-6 and Matthew 12:1-16. How can we see, in these encounters, that Jesus-despite the overt hostility against Him-was trying to reach these men? What did He say, and do, that should have touched their hearts, were they not so closed?
It’s interesting that, in dealing with these people, Jesus referred to the Scriptures and even sacred history, sources that should have touched the religious leaders. Jesus was appealing to what should have been common ground between them. For instance, He quoted the Bible when He talked about the importance of mercy over ritual. By so doing He sought to bring the leaders to a deeper meaning of the law that they claimed to so fervently and devoutly cherish and uphold.
In His discourse about pulling an animal out of a pit on the Sabbath day, Jesus then appealed to their most basic notions of decency and kindness, something that these men all should have related to. The problem, however, was that their bitterness and hatred toward Jesus clouded even that.
Finally, the miracles themselves should have spoken loudly to these influential leaders about the extraordinary Man among them.
It’s easy, from our position today, to look back in wonder at the blindness and hardness of these men. How, though, can we make sure that we ourselves, seeking to protect something that we don’t want to give up, don’t close ourselves to more light from God? Why is that easier to do than we might think?