Why the Pharisees Couldn’t Read

“Again in Matthew 21:42 Jesus says to the chief priests and the Pharisees, ‘Have you never read the Scriptures …?’

… Reading, in the mind of Jesus, is not just seeing surface things — like the connection of words and phrases and clauses — but the things implied more deeply by the realities involved. Thus reading is thinking through what is said not just grammatically but — how shall we say it — essentially, or substantially. That is, reading includes asking about the implications of the realities signified …

What we will see is that the problem was not linguistic or grammatical or historical. It was moral and spiritual. What prevented the reading that Jesus expected was not skills they lacked, but sins they loved. The problem was not mental deficiencies, but misplaced desires …

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