11 January 2019

Matthew 23

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Matthew 23:23-24

Jesus is scathing in His judgment of false religion. He has no time for it because it has nothing to do with faith in Him. Man-made religion does nor save and neglects what God prizes, namely … justice and mercy and faithfulness.’

Do you want to be pleasing to God? Then Matthew 23 is good medicine for you. A follower of Jesus cannot tolerate sin or falsehood. Compromise with sin gives place in your life to Satan (Ephesians 4:27) and makes the Lord Jesus very angry (verse 15)

Jesus pronounces seven woes on false religion – dire warnings of judgement meant to make me uncomfortable. I prefer to hear about God’s grace than the hard truth about sinful hypocrisy that God detests and the judgement befalling it. Frankly, it’s uncomfortable … mainly because too often it’s applicable!

Why then is Jesus strong warning good medicine for us?

Because God’s word purifies us from sin (John 15:3 and Ephesians 5:26).

Jesus’ words expose our wrong attitudes and He shines his light into any darkness in our hearts. Just like a visit to the dentist is painful but good for you – Jesus’ words expose and fix our rotten cavities. God’s standard is absolute holiness (1 Peter 1:16). This is what Jesus gives us through His cross; then we need to obey our Lord, because faith without works is useless. (James 2:20)

Jesus said ‘You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?’ (Matthew 23:33)

Jesus speaks very strong words of warning … but does so in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not afraid to tell us the hard truth because of Your love. You don’t want us to be deceived and condemned. Thank You for discipline and willingness to forgive us through Christ.