“Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.” John 18:28
The priests were expected to obey the law to the utmost. After all, they were the leaders of their faith and the most visible adherants. But sometimes, their obsession with rules kept them from showing basic human compassion. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? Often the rules they were following weren’t God-given, but rather man-given.
This tendency showed itself again when Jesus was on trial. The priests who delivered Him to Pilate wouldn’t even accompany the accused inside, because they wanted to be ceremoniallh clean for Passover. They were keeping the letter of the law, yes. But they were putting it’s observance ahead of what really mattered. How ironic that they were worried about being able to keep Passover, when they were serving up the Lamb of God to be killed!
We as Christians aren’t under the law, but we do have a responsibility to follow God’s precepts as set forth in the word. We have to guard ourselves against putting man-made regulations on our lives, especially when that means not truly ministering to our fellow man. This often shows itself during worship services, when we exclude the “whosoevers” because they don’t look, act, or think like we do.
Ultimately, it comes down to religion vs. relationship. We have to ask ourselves if our actions are motivated by a desire to keep rules or to love others. The lost are hardly ever won to Christ because of a list of rules, but they are often won because of the love they are shown.