Matthew Week 1: Day 2
Pray and Read:
Pray that God will use his word to shape your mind, affect your heart and change your actions. Read Matthew 23:1-4
Who is Jesus speaking to?
In verses 2 & 3 Jesus performs a rhetorical balancing act – what do you think he is trying to achieve?
How do you think the ‘teachers of the law’ and ‘the Pharisees’ place ‘heavy and cumbersome loads’ on the people’s shoulders?
Jesus distinguishes between the importance of the read word of God (v 3a) and the actions of those who read it (3b). The sinful lives of those who read and teach the scriptures do not, in any way, change or denigrate the message of hope and love we share in Christ.
In the case of the Pharisees, they were prescribing additions to the requirements of God’s word that made it hard for everyday Israelites to follow God. To make matters worse, it seems that the Pharisees themselves weren’t living out their own prescriptions.
We can take two things from this short passage:
1. Jesus himself has already spoken about who God’s people should look to as the perfect teacher. In Matthew 11:29-30 he encourages his followers to “29 take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” No only is Jesus the perfect teacher but his teachings will not cause his followers to stumble under extra weight.
2. Making human additions to God’s word is always a mistake. We find warnings about ‘Gospel +’ and how this can lead a believer down a path of self reliance. (Galatians 1:6–9)
Thanks God for Jesus, our ultimate teacher and the one we can follow confidently
Pray that God would help you to fully devote yourselves to the life and teaching Jesus calls us too
Pray that the Christian leaders you know will lead in a way that glorifies God and points people to Jesus