Some of the scribes and Pharisees came to Our Lord with an open mind, but many more gave him real problems. Opposing him at nearly every turn, they cooked up numerous schemes to spoil his reputation and corner him in his theology.
So what was their problem? Well, essentially it was spiritual tunnel vision. They loved the Scriptures zealously, but when Jesus claimed to be the One Scripture was pointing to, they couldn’t take it. They were so set in their preconceptions and expectations that even his miracles couldn’t sway them. They looked for any excuse to dismiss him: He was possessed by a demon; he spent too much time with prostitutes and drunkards; he broke the Sabbath.
But these Jewish elders weren’t the only ones with tunnel vision. At different points in our own spiritual journey, each of us faces the challenge of stretching our expectations and confronting areas in our lives that run contrary to God’s word. We all need to accept the fact that God doesn’t always act or speak in the way we think he should. And that’s the way it should be. Our Lord promised that he would “make all things new”—and that includes our minds, our hearts, and our patterns of behaviour.
As we press on with the season of Advent we should take some time to reflect on how Our Lord may be leading us to a fuller understanding of who he is and the people he has called us to be. We should allow him to show us if we have any tunnel vision about him and his mission.
It’s good to know that in many ways, we are less like the scribes and Pharisees and more like Our Lord’s Apostles. After all, we already believe in Jesus. We already love him and we want to please him. We may have areas of resistance in our hearts, but so did his earliest followers. And just like them, the more we get to know Jesus and his ways, the more we will become like him. This Advent, if we use it properly, really can become a season of grace and transformation for all of us.