Reading in Romans 10 was a very different shift focus from the emotions that Paul had expressed in chapter 9. Although he was obviously still very passionate about salvation for the Jews, he was now pointing toward all of the prophetic Scripture that they all should have known and recognized. He was not allowing them any room for excuse because all of the prophets that the Jews claimed to deeply respect had prophesied things ahead about the future of the Jews and if they really wanted to see it, the scriptures all pointed directly to Jesus. Even Jesus himself had been quoting many of these old prophetic scriptures to the people during his time on the earth when he ministered and healed. He was literally pulling these old prophesies out and reminding them of them so that later on they would remember what he had said and think about it and hopefully realize that these old prophesies were coming to pass right in front of them as fulfilled prophesy. Ironically, the Jews had been so completely preoccupied with trying to find fault with Jesus that instead of seeking out the actual truth, they were trying their hardest to catch Jesus saying something that contradicted the old prophets that they claimed to respect so much. Jesus often called them out on their hypocrisy because the religious leaders claimed to value the prophets so much, but they were famous for twisting and using the words of these respected prophets to manipulate the people they led and to give themselves little perks and privileges. They had a lot to gain in the ways of power and authority, so their focus was very politically minded. They worked with the government and made legal arrangements that gave them perks, power and position. They craved honor and respect so to staying in control was their supreme motive for everything they did. These religious leaders knew the scriptures very well because they were well educated in them, but since they didn’t have the heart behind it they abused people and held expectations of the people that they weren’t willing to do themselves. They taught the law with arrogance and came off with and attitude of superiority, but they were actually doing shady things on the inside while pretending to be holy and righteous. They put guilt on the people they were supposed to be leading and they completely manipulated the common people to bring offerings and money and follow rules that they themselves were actually breaking. Jesus was contently calling them out for this stuff in front of the crowds and he told the people to honor them because of their position but not to act like them. This obviously angered them because Jesus was completely exposing them and all of their hypocrisy in front of everyone so they just kept sending people to come in and try to trip Jesus up hoping he would say something that contradicted one of the respected prophets. The irony of it all is that many of these prophesies were actually very accurately telling them that they were going to see all of the signs and yet still ignore them. The ancient prophesies were very accurately predicting that they would see all kinds of signs and wonders pointing right to Jesus but that they would miss it all because they would choose religion and power instead. What I really pulled out of all of this is that our spiritual blindness is a choice. God has spoken all that we need to know, but if our focus is on our appearance, we will spend our days trying to look good and convince others that we are good when what God is really after is heart change. Our desire for growth has to come from a place of honesty if we really want to see real change in our lives. God is much less interested in a perfect track record. He is looking for us to come to him with our hearts wide open and surrendered so he can speak to us and show us who he is. This is where the real stuff gets done and this is how we are able to feel at peace knowing that God sees our honest heart and loves us exactly where we are.