Matthew 23

follow jesusIf you aren’t familiar with Matthew 23, I urge you to read it because it’s full to the brim with great wisdom on how to and not to live!

I just love it when a scripture jumps out and screams my name…it’s just too bad it was this one.

The reason I cringe to think of my own sins related to this passage is because Jesus was basically warning the crowds and his disciples against hypocrisy.

Uh oh….

Jesus begins by saying, “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you.  But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.  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.” (verses 3-4)

I need to stop right here because I’m a miserable failure when it comes to practicing what I preach.  I could give you a ton of excuses, but the truth is that I struggle daily with sin in my life and I can only hope that Jesus’ death on the cross really does wipe away ALL of my transgressions.

Thank you, Jesus!!

Verses three and four are not only packed with the practice what you preach part, but also the cumbersome loads that we put on other people without doing anything to help them.  Sigh.

Point in fact:  Have you found yourself, at one time or another, thinking about all the things someone else needs to change?

  • Were you kind to that person?
  • Did you invite them to dinner?
  • Did you serve them in some way that wasn’t self-serving?
  • Did you pray for them?

And I’m not talking about trying to convert someone to have a notch on our “How many Christian’s did you make” belt.  I’m referring to sincerely helping someone else because they are lost in this big old world and probably could use a friend instead of a critic.

We have enough critics.  We need more Jesus-like people.

Jesus goes on to say, “But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness.” (Part of verse 23)

Consistently, we miss the mark while trying to be perfect and do the “right” things, go to the “right” church and say the “right” things.  The problem isn’t with our knowledge, but with our heart.

The Pharisees are a great example of this because they were basically Harvard scholars when it came to scriptures, but they lacked the “love your neighbor” part in a big way.

I think the tendency for most of us is to be like the Pharisees because it’s easy to point out the failings of others than it is to work on our own.  Plus, it makes us feel superior that we are doing something better than someone else.

Matthew 23 emphasizes how wrong this is.

Jesus calls us to help the hurting, feed the hungry, love the unlovable, turn the other cheek, give the shirt off of our back and forgive again and again.

Are any of these on your To Do List today?

Read Matthew 23 and see how well you are holding up to Jesus standards!  I’m not looking so good and continue to need God’s grace and mercy at the end of each day!!  You?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 14:21 – Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

One Response

  1. Huge sigh~ total conviction.
    Not sure I want to say thank you.

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