Good Guys and Bad Guys: Who are we?
In his climactic seventh and final woe against the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus tells them the following:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.” Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. (Matt. 23:29-31)
What I believe Jesus is essentially saying is this: scribes and Pharisees, you take it for granted that you are on the side of the good guys. When you read your Old Testament, you always place yourself in the story as one of the good guys and not one of the bad guys. And what I want you to know is this: the very fact that you assume you are one of the good guys shows that you in fact are not. The fact that you read the indictments of the prophets and always see yourselves as being in the righteous and obedient remnant shows that you in fact are hypocrites and a brood of vipers. Do not assume so quickly that you would do the right thing if given the chance. Do not assume so quickly that you are better than others and always heed the voice of God.
And so the question for us is this: When we read the Old Testament, do we always place ourselves on the side of the good guys, or do we see ourselves in the unfaithful wife Gomer, in Aaron building the golden calf, in the wilderness generation grumbling how much better it would have been to stay in Egypt? If we too quickly assume we always would have done right, we may in fact be witnessing against ourselves that we are doing wrong.