Matthew Week 1: Day 4
Pray and Read:
Pray that God will use his word to shape your mind, affect your heart and change your actions. Read Matthew 23:13-39
In what ways are the Pharisees leading people astray?
In what ways are the Pharisees leading themselves astray?
Jesus uses three analogies to describe the Pharisees in verses 26, 27 and 28. What are they?
Why do you think Jesus is speaking so strongly? How does this passage make you feel?
Jesus saves some of his strongest language for the religious leaders that are supposed to be caring for, and nurturing, the people of God. False teaching is a scourge that leads people away from God temporally and potentially, eternally. Teachers, therefore, have a huge responsibility when it comes to role in the Kingdom of God. James makes this plain in his 3rd chapter, noting that teachers will certainly face stricter judgment.
Jesus was not only concerned about the Pharisees taught but the way they lived their lives. Jesus is disgusted that their public persona does not match their private practices, calling them hypocrites 6 times. These men were sinners just like the people they led but Jesus did not see any sign of a repentant, humble heart.
This passage should certainly serve as a warning to Christians not to say one thing and do the other. However, the strength to do this shouldn’t come from an inward resolve to ‘do better’ but a realignment of our hearts to Jesus as we humbly repent and rely on God’s grace.
Pray for the Christian leaders that you know, particularly at Providence Church.
Thank God for Jesus, whose words and deeds were perfectly aligned.
Ask God for help as you try and live out your faith in the public and private spheres. Pray that you will bring glory to him and be confident in his forgiveness when you fail.