This morning as I was reading my Bible, I was stopped in my tracks by four simple words: “You are in error…” Jesus was warning the Pharisees, some of the most religious people who have ever lived. Their error? Jesus speaks plainly: “Because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (NIV). The Greek word for error is even stronger. It implies that one is “deceived, deluded, a wanderer from the truth.” The Message Bible puts it this way: “You’re off base on two counts: You don’t know your Bibles, and you don’t know how God works.”
Today is Day Thirteen of our 21 Day Watch. Not only am I watching for signs of God at work, but I’m also watching for God’s warnings. Often when the word watch is used in the New Testament, it’s in the context of warning us against danger. “Watch and pray so that you don’t fall into temptation,” Jesus told the sleepy disciples in the Garden of Gesthemane. “Watch out for false teachers.” “Watch out for greed.” Seems like being watchful against error is part of our job description as believers.
Lots can be said about the Pharisees, but ignorance of the Scriptures was not one of them. They committed long passages to memory and devoted their life to obeying the law. They even added over 600 extra interpretations of the Ten Commandments to make sure they were righteous in every way. But they didn’t truly know the Scripture, Jesus stated. And they didn’t know the power of God. They had read it, studied it, memorized it, created a complex system to obey every letter of it. But according to Jesus, they didn’t know it, and they didn’t know Him. Their hearts were far from Jesus, so how could they know His Word?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’s words. Obviously, they give us a warning. If I don’t know the Bible or God’s power, I’m more likely to be deceived. But these words are also a challenge. They remind me of my need to truly know Jesus and believe in Him. Out of that relationship, my knowledge of His Word will bring life to my soul and ignite my faith. If I know God’s Word and His power, I am less likely to be deluded by the enemy’s lies.
Just one more reason it’s worth it to spend time talking to God in prayer each day. Getting to know Him, reading and reflecting on His Word. It’s why we’re doing this 21 Day Watch, alert to signs of God at work and growing in our understanding of His enormous power. Stay faithful. Keep up your guard. Don’t be deceived.