Wednesday, June 23, 2010
(25) “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (33) “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Matthew 23: 25 and 33 (NIV Bible)
I have to admit I thoroughly enjoy reading the 23rd chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. The power and strength of Jesus in his words thrills my heart and lifts my soul. He really puts it all on the line to the Pharisees. I like the first four verses; Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” If Jesus were here today, he could very well say the same thing! We have not come very far in 2000 years.
This design is to represent harsh authority. Notice how it is rigid and not free flowing. It is set and commanding. It portrays power and authority without love, hope and faith. It is not inviting. It is cold. It has authority without conviction. It represents what Jesus saw and heard from the Pharisees and it represents the same today. The design is actually clean and fine, but what is behind it? What lies hidden beneath it? It is filled with hypocrisy, lies, and self-serving. This design reminds us that, as written in Acts 4:20, we must speak; “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” How long fellow Christians will we continue to be silent? How long will we continue to play the game called “politically correct” and not speak for Jesus?
In verse 12 of Matthew 23, Jesus said, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Throughout this 23 chapter Jesus calls out woe on the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites, blind guides, blind men, white-washed tombs, snakes, vipers, and wicked. Today we have religious leaders who are moving away from the Gospel to the wishes of society. We have political leaders who care only about their station in life and what is in it for them. We must follow the law.