Walk the walk
Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. Matthew 23:3
Matthew 23 starts with Jesus giving direction to His disciples and also correction to the Pharisees. He told the disciples that it is the right thing to do what the Pharisees tell them to do, but it is not the right thing to do what the Pharisees were actually doing. He goes through a long list of what the Pharisees do that should not be duplicated which include:
1. lay burdens on people that are hard to bear and will not help in any way.
2. They do good deeds only when others are watching.
3. They make sure they get the best spot to be seen in synagogues and at the feasts.
4. They make sure that all the people address them by their superior title.
5. The pray long prayers to appear to be more spiritual than others.
Then Jesus called them blind leaders making more blind followers. He told the disciples that anyone who exalts himself will be humbles and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.
So this is the message of encouragement that I want to share today. True humility is in serving others. Exalting yourself is pride. You are boasting “look what I have done” and promoting your good work to bring glory to yourself. Jesus said if you do that, that is all the reward you will get. (see Matthew 6) In contrast, He said if you humble yourself by being the servant of all, your will be great in God’s kingdom. This is the place where we as God children should be.
As you go about your day today, look for opportunities to serve others. Show those around you that you care and love just by the way you help and do for them. Humble yourself by being kind and loving and put boasting and sarcasm far from your words. You may not see immediate results of recognition and praise, but you will have the satisfaction that your Lord is watching and will reward you openly one day soon.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 23:1-36
1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,
2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.
6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,
7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’
8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.
9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.
11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’
17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
18And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’
19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.
21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it.
22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.
33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation