Sunday, February 15, 2009

Matthew 23

It is no small wonder Jesus was crucified for walking into the Jews temple on their biggest holiday and saying things like this! Certainly the situation warranted these harsh comments, but the comments also warranted their hatred.

His denunciation is down to the details, including fashion styles and the wording of vows. No general or theoretical denunciations here.

It is hard to believe Catholicism survived teachings like this -- Don't let anyone call you teacher or father!

The refrain, "woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," has such a haunting effect. The offense is that they appear to be something they are not. They appear good and they are not good.

The tithing paragraph is instructive about church life. The external standard of 10% is easy to apply, and to accept, and allows people to miss the weight of the law. How many times do we decide on some external standard, that people may readily accept, and divert attention or circumvent true heart response to God? Jesus compares this to straining at a gnat (the 10%) and missing the obvious and camel-like demands of God! How easy it is to do this with our kids, too.

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