From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been suffering violence, and the violent have been seizing it by force. [Matthew 11:12 CSB]
The message of repentance that John the Baptist preached was very different.
The religious leaders of his day were intimidated by John and his teaching.
They use all manner of fleshly force to keep control of their religious positions.
They were religious bullies who exalted their rules and intimidated the masses.
When the masses flocked to baptismal waters these leaders sensed their control slipping.
And violence began to grow in their hearts.
As Jesus confronted these bullies we saw violence take root in their hearts.
Their obsession for fleshly religious power blinded them to what was really going on.
They did not see those in need of forgiveness, healing and deliverance.
These power hungry men stopped at nothing to maintain their fleshly power and control.
In their quest for power they began to plot the death of Jesus.
Looking back we can see the fruit of their violent and manipulative actions.
The Pharisees are a compelling reminder to us of the dark side of religion.
When bullies are in leadership the kingdom of heaven suffers violence.
In contrast, humble servants usher in the peace and love of God in this world.
He us Lord to place ourselves in the company of servants.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.