When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus. But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.” The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?” (John 7:32-36)
Relate: There were two reasons that the Pharisees didn’t like Jesus and they both had the same root cause. The Pharisees didn’t hate Jesus because of His theology. Sure, they didn’t fully agree with Him, but they also didn’t fully agree with each other. There were more glaring differences among different teachers in their own camp than they had with Jess. They agreed with Him far more than they did with some other major groups like the Sadducees or the Herodians. No, it wasn’t theology that set them on edge. It was much more worldly than that. It was much more visceral.
What really got under the Pharisees skin was an issue of power. For a long time now they were the be all and end all when it came to both popularity and practice. If people had a religious question, they would take it to the Pharisees. If people wanted to know what to do or how to live, the Pharisees had that all mapped out for them. They even had rules for the rules about their rules.
Then along comes Jesus on the scene. He followed the original Law and Prophets to a tee, but that was as far as He would go. Jesus was far too “sacrilegious” to even bother with all the teachings and explanations and tradition that had been built up around the scripture. This lazy, drunkard, glutton didn’t follow all the minutiae of what it means to follow the Sabbath. Even worse, He flaunted His disrespect for their tradition right in their faces and the people loved it. The people loved it. That was the second problem the Pharisees had with Jesus. He was just so stinking popular. He was far more popular than any of them. That just wouldn’t do.
React: Name your “P”. Power. Prestige. Popularity. Practice. The Pharisees felt Jesus was getting it wrong on all levels and they did their best to try and stop Him. The problem is that you cannot stop a move of God. It is not possible. All it does is get you left behind. Jesus promised them that is exactly what was going to happen. He was going to a place they couldn’t go. Their positioning for power put them in a place where they would ultimately miss out on the presence of God.
God, I want to follow You. Please, please don’t ever let my own pride, ambition, or need for control get in the way of Your move. Don’t let my desire for attention or adulation ever try to steal Your glory. I want to ever walk in Your shadow so that, where You are going I will be.