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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Gotcha Question

Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10:1,2, NIV)

The ministry of Jesus now shifts from Galilee, as the Lord begins the long journey to Jerusalem. At the present moment, Jesus returns to the area where John the Baptist ministered (1:5).

We might have expected Mark to say that Jesus was healing “as was His custom.” Not so this time. He was teaching “as was His custom.” Healing happens in a moment and it is done. The reformation of life — learning new patterns of thought and behavior — takes time. Jesus is concerned not only for the well-being of the body, but also for the inner life; and that is why He teaches.

But not everyone wants to learn. Some only want to see if they can ask a “gotcha” question.

The Pharisees were not the only ones who did this. I see it today among those who look at a pastor, a Christian author, or a ministry and do their best to find the one or two things they don’t agree with. Then they blow those areas of disagreement all out of context and trumpet the one “nugget” they have found to smear the entire life and ministry of an otherwise good Christian leader. Like the Pharisees, they are not interesting in learning; they are only interested in destroying the person who may differ with them.

I call them “watchers on the wall.” They are always looking for a fault somewhere, and when they find it, they trumpet it far and near. They could better spend their time witnessing to the lost than tearing down the found.

The Pharisees continually looked for some way to trip up Jesus. They charged Him with blasphemy when He forgave the paralytic’s sins (2:6,7); faulted Him for eating with sinners and tax collectors (2:15,16); criticized Him for letting His disciples pluck grain on the Sabbath (2:24); plotted to kill Him for healing on the Sabbath the man with a withered hand (3:1-6); accused Him of being possessed by the devil (3:22); walked almost 100 miles to challenge Him for letting His disciples eat without first ritually purifying their hands (7:1-23); and demanded from Him a sign from heaven (8:11).

No matter how hard you try, you just cannot satisfy some folks.

Now they come to Jesus, not to learn but to find out whether they could trap Him with a question about divorce. They really were not interested in truth or in what God thought. They only wanted another reason to go after Jesus.

The Pharisee spirit is never dead in so-called religious people. Some are never satisfied no matter what evidence is presented that differs from their perception. They would rather be critics than open their hearts to embrace the evidences of God’s presence and blessing.

Can we learn from their bad example? Instead of imitating the politics of personal destruction that we see all around us, can the body of Christ be different? Can we fulfill the desire of Jesus, “May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21)?

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, may I never have a spirit that looks for ways to find fault. Help me to ask honest questions rather than looking for ways to accuse or attack my brothers and sisters in Christ.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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