I’m All That!
Verse 5 …circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;
We know that Paul had been a Pharisee but he felt that there was more to his story and fleshly qualifications than that.
He starts out by talking about his being marked as a part of the people of God. To be specific he had received that mark as an 8 day old as was the requirement for the Jewish people. This was a thing of pride among the people of God and Paul says that it was a badge of honor that he wore proudly. Sometimes we can be the same way about our baptism. We see it as a mark of our being a step ahead of others. But we have to come to the point that Paul came to in his life, a place of humility.
Paul’s circumcision on the 8th day showed that he was born into the family of Israel not just someone who had chosen to convert to Judaism. This was an opportunity for Jewish people to feel pride because this meant to them that God had chosen them to be a part of His people so they didn’t have to. It is easy for us to think that too if we have been raised in the Church. We can view it sort of like a birthright.
Next Paul points out that he is from the tribe of Benjamin and therefore a Hebrew of Hebrews. This was an especially prideful thing. Out of the twelve tribes only 10 of them were actually Jacob’s sons by birth, of those 10 only 1 was a son of Jacob with his favorite wife. Benjamin wasn’t a big tribe, in fact it had been considered the smallest of the tribes of Israel when Samuel anointed King Saul who was from the tribe. Once again we can fall into a similar trap when think our family pedigree is better than others.
The last qualification that Paul gives in this verse is that he was a part of the strictest sect of the Jewish religion. It was the most conservative group and they definitely felt they were the best of the best. They knew the law better than any other group and they tended to care more about the keeping of the law than they did about the maintaining relationships. We can sometimes fall into the same trap. We can become consumed with trying to be good people and miss the mission of bringing people to Jesus.
Making It Personal
Have you ever thought of yourself as prideful? What are some ways that you find pride in your life? How are you going to try to address the pride in your life?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it mean to have a prideful heart? Do you think you are better than other people? What can you do to help you remember to think of others and not just yourself?
Father, pride is such an easy sin trap to fall into. Give us wisdom and strength to be humble and convict us anytime we are starting to be prideful. In Jesus’ name, amen.