To the Pharisees, the mercy and compassion of the Savior seemed more uncomfortable than all the performances they clung to. Why? I don’t have a strong background in the Law of Moses but it seems like it could’ve gone a few different ways. Was the Law of Moses designed to help the people learn discipline? Was it a vehicle for pointing them to Christ because it required them to harness their passions and develop their ability to think of other people? Was the point to help them remember Heaven 27 times in the midst of their day-to-day life and seek to feel close to Deity? Was it to help them set high goals and see their progress as they improved their obedience over time? Was it to encourage them to work together because collaboration would’ve lessened the stress of it a bit? Apparently for some, whatever the purpose, it had lost a bit of it’s edge by the time AD 30 rolled around. And at that point, many facets of the original law had been altered or modified by the leaders, making it even more stringent and hard to obey (Bible Dictionary p. 723). Despite Moses’ injuction that the law was designed to point people to Christ, it seems like there were some people going through the motions of religion without actually developing a knowledge of the Savior. Did they not care? Did they take such pride in their exact obedience that all they wanted was to be better at it than someone else? Or did they just forget? I can relate to all of those things. I can understand performing religions actions over and over again and losing sight of the point, say for example prayer, scripture study, contemplation of the sacrament, etc. If it wasn’t such a missed opportunity, it might be kind of funny to think that there were people completing these sacrifices and daily demonstrations with as much obedience as they could muster without any clue as to why they were doing it. And as a student of the gospel of Christ, I can relate to aspiring to know and do everything there is to know and trying to get a handle on something so overwhelming as consistent obedience. But I think that’s where they may have made a minor error that led them pretty far off course. I think they thought they knew all there was to know. Without a willingness to accept that we’re seeing through a glass darkly (1 Cor 13:12), we won’t be receptive to more truth when it is revealed. And I think that’s part of the struggle they experienced. It seems like perhaps they needed to be experts and achieve mastery at this business of religion. And maybe it was because they weren’t good at very many other things. Or maybe it was because they had sacrificed so much to achieve that kind of diligent obedience, maybe they just couldn’t let it go and accept that they had things to learn just like everybody else. I have been devoted to the scriptures for a long time and I would love nothing more than to think I have life figured out. But I don’t and sometimes it’s a rude awakening when I realize how much there is left to learn. And that’s just the stuff I know about. There is so much beauty, personal growth and knowledge to be gained in the process that we sell ourselves short if we profess to know everything.
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