Hello, everyone!! Today I read Matthew 23 and thought I might share what I learned with you.
In this chapter, Jesus criticizes the Pharisees and teachers of the law. Dictionary.com defines Pharisee as “a member of a Jewish sect… that differed from the Sadducees chiefly in its strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and traditions, and belief in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah.” It’s obvious that Jesus did not like the Pharisees. In fact, he goes on for 24 verses of “woes on the teachers of the law and Pharisees”. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites 6 times in this chapter alone! What is a hypocrite? A hypocrite is a person who has many rules and practices, but rarely if at all follows them himself. In verse 4, Jesus says they “tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” When they actually DO follow their rules, they only do it to show off. “Look at me, I’m following the rules. I’m a good person!” Matthew 6:1 says: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.” He also points out to them that they follow rules and practices such as giving a tenth of their spices (verse 23) but ignore much more important commands- things like being just, merciful and faithful.
How do Jesus’ words affect us today?
Many Christians of today behave like these Pharisees, often without even knowing it. They may know all the rules, but they don’t follow them. Or, they may follow ALL the rules, but they do it to gain attention or favor from others or God. Verse 12 says to HUMBLE yourselves, which means we are not to show off our good works. We don’t do good things because they make God love us more or get us into heaven- we do them because it is a natural response to what God has done for us! Why WOULDN’T you want to obey such an awesome God, who has shown us so much grace?
That’s all I have for now! Thank you so, so much for taking the time to read my blog!
Your sister in Christ,