March 17 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 54
Jesus is wrapping up his final teachings, and Jesus just got real with these Pharisees. Would love to have an open forum today and go a little more in depth-questions, feelings, thoughts, anything that you would love to share. I won’t get too lengthy with my post today; I challenge you to take each one of these woes and self-assess where you are in your walk and get real with the One who loves you.
READ: Matthew 23
These woes, in contrast to the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), denounce false religion as absolutely repugnant to God and worthy of severe condemnation. Jesus affirmed this three times (vs. 13, 15, and 33) that unrepentant scribes and Pharisees would go to hell. No passage in the Bible is more bitter, more pointed, or more severe than this pronouncement of Christ upon the Pharisees. And I don’t believe it was by accident that he singled them out over the Sadducees and even the Herodians. Jesus wasn’t talking about all of the religious systems that were now in motion; He was talking about giving the wrong meaning of true religion. This is what he meant by false religion; they did it in a way that made it easy to tell lies.
They were professional scripture-twisters, and they focused, for their own advantage, on what was of lesser importance in scripture. Topics such as tithing (vs. 23), which resulted in more money in their pockets, were more frequently the focus of their sermons than were the “weightier provisions of the law” such as “justice and mercy and faithfulness.” This one made me stop and think about some of our churches today. I was about to tag this sentence with a 😉 but it actually makes my heart :(.
Verses 9, 10 and 39 are standing out today– “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’, you have one Father, and He is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ…For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’”. In Luke 11:2 “…When you pray, say: “ ‘Father, …” Our father wants to gather us just like He did with Jerusalem’s children (vs. 37), but they were ‘unwilling’.
Lord, examine my heart…
Father, have I been ‘willing’ or full of greed and self-indulgence; have I been a blind Pharisee, overflowing of hypocrisy, twisting Your truth to benefit me. Let me repent of my ways; I want You and to honor You in my ways, not to be detestable in Your sight. Please forgive me…Amen.