Saturday 5 October 2013

Matthew 23:1-39 - Hypocrites

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In this chapter (Matthew 23:1-39) Jesus deals with hypocrisy. In the first three verses he makes it very clear that the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees should be obeyed but not followed. They do not do what they teach which, of course, is hypocritical.

We must be people who not only say right things, but also do them. We are not to show off, and we are not to take on titles such as Teacher or Father or Instructor. Can you think of other titles we should avoid?

Jesus lists seven woes, seven key issues that will cause the religious leaders to come unstuck. He is generalising, there were some among the Pharisees who followed him, Nicodemus, for example. Read through these woes. They are strong stuff.

If we are to keep Jesus central in our lives, it goes without saying that we should not do the bad things the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees did. But what about the good things they did? Was Jesus saying that we should meet all the requirements of Mosaic Law? I don't think so! He said that he came to fulfil the Law, not to destroy it. He also said that his burden is light. He calls us to go beyond the Law just as he did. Read Matthew 22:37-40 again. Love is the key, the Law is rooted and grounded in love. So love!

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