Happy Tuesday! Yeserday began Matthew 23, where Jesus criticized the religious leaders. This criticism is followed by a day of questioning and attempts to trap Jesus (see Matthew 22). Today, we will continue to read on Jesus’ response. Enjoy today’s reading and your day. Be safe.
BIBLE VERSE – Matthew 23:8-14 NLT
“8 “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.] 9 And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. 10 And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.”
Wow, there are many things that I can point out,, but what sticks with me is verse 13, “Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.”
The thought that people would be so proud to limit others from seeking Jesus baffles me. It is like the tale ‘of a person not being welcome inside the church and then Jesus says, don’t worry they won’t let me in either.’ It is clear, that that gathering space/church is just a gathering space, not a place where the love and compassion of Jesus, and the truth of the gospel is taught and/or lived out.
Brothers and sisters, let us not think of ourselves higher than we are. Let us point others to Jesus with humility and dignity, giving Him all the reverence and respect that is due. Love one another as Christ loves the church – there will be no separation of color, class or status in the Kingdom of Heaven, so don’t let there be any in your heart.
Father God, thank you for being our everything – Father, Teacher. Thank you for the wise instructions and guidance you give us. Lord, you never fail us. Lord, forgive us for the times when we believe and act like we know better than you. Lord, speak to us and help us to hear you over all the noise, internal doubt and chaos. Lord, when things appear to be overwhelming, strengthen us and equip us with the tools/gifts we need to serve you and your people. Lord, remove temptations and distractions that lead us away from you. Lord, be our rock and shield us against the enemies schemes today. Lord, continue to change us. In Jesus name, amen.
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