not mine; from the Seattle P-I….Golden Gardens

Yeah, I said that.

I found this out in a most humbling way.
The other night my husband and I were finally catching up with the conclusion of The Bible TV series–the Easter episode–Jesus’ trial, crucifixion and resurrection.

I was exclaiming throughout the program at the atrociousness of the High Priest Caiaphas’ behaviour.  The one kind of ‘in charge’ Hebrew guy who berated and railed against Jesus’ proclamation to be King of the Jews.
“Blasphemer!” he called him. “He says He’s God.  We have only one God, that is Caesar.”
And this from a man who prayed daily, worshiped in the temple, knew the Scriptures (Torah) of the day.

Jesus, the Messiah, was standing right in front of him and he preferred over and over again to believe his way of life and myriad rules were the Way, rather than trust that this something new–a new kingdom with a new King–could be the way of freedom God had planned.

Because if Jesus’ words were true then every piece of the foundation Caiaphas had built would have to be imploded, every lie he’d been looking to for salvation would have to be shed, every wrong way of thinking would have to be acknowledged as futile, faulty, fatal.

And he’d rather die than change.

God made sure soon after that Caiaphas’ (and many others’) way of life was turned upside down and shattered in bits.
When Christ breathed his last on the cross, the ensuing earthquake sent pottery flying, people scrambling and buildings tottering.  The veil into the holy of holies was rent in two, that most sacred place only Caiaphas had access to, and now it would be open to everyone.
Because of this Saviour.

How in the world could he not see this Messiah was who He said he was?!

Perhaps Caiaphas realized the error of his ways, the lies that trapped him, the strongholds that were his religion broken at last. We’ll never know as history and God’s word do not tell us.

But could the character of Caiaphas have something to tell me?  It wasn’t just a nice part of the story–God uses all of his Word to speak to us–what did he want me to hear?

The next afternoon I went out to my deck for my alone time with God and it hit me, “Jody, you’re just like Caiaphas.”

“Wow……how, God?” (We have conversations like that.)

“You’ve believed two lies–just like Caiaphas:
the trap of tradition is safer than the love you’ll find in letting go
the stones of stagnation are stronger than surrender to the Saviour.”

He continued,
“You’re married to your rules–your ways of doing things.
Look at the books you think you have to read.
They’re full of voices that speak truth but they are not my Word.
Look at the ‘have to’s’ you make for yourself–
“I have to memorize this Scripture, I have to have devotions,
I have to read this Chapter in the Bible.”
“I have to write this blog post.” Ouch.
“It’s all religion.  Dead works.

“I’m calling you to ME, seek Me, my presence, my power. Listen to my voice.
Give up your religious ways and turn to me. Be devoted to me.”
Ouch, again.

Just like Caiaphas I have some tradition. I’ve been a Christian for over 40 years; I’ve walked this way long enough to get trapped in my own way of doing things.
I’ve become comfortable with how I think God should work and what Jesus should say.
I’ve got it all figured out, thank you.

But God is beginning to shake all those old foundations and build something new.
Something different.
I’m hearing little whispers of the freedom that comes with abandoning myself to God’s ways, being quiet enough to listen to what He says.
Slowing down long enough to shut up and find the joy that comes with surrender, the peace that comes with silence.

And the joy that comes with just Jesus……….nothing else. Yes, religion stinks.
But an open, surrendered, abandoned relationship with a Redeemer?
I want that.

How about you?

Linking with WA Jen for Unite!, TX Jen and the SDG Sisters 
and Michelle for Hear it on Sunday

where she writes about pretty much the same thing………
missing Jesus when He’s right in front of us
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