Matthew 23:1-12: Preaching and Practicing
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Jesus’ words are clear and simple as he tells us how to discern false teaching.
False leaders talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
Jesus’ words carry great weight.
Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals.
Jesus’ words bring us an eternal vision.
They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help.
Jesus’ words lay out clear guideposts.
Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next.
Jesus’ words describe our lives keenly.
They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’
Jesus’ words show us how we might change.
Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let God tell you what to do.
Jesus’ words sustain and nurture.
There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
Jesus’ words clarify and heal, explain and comfort, teach and bring peace.
Let us pray Jesus’ words together today.
As we think about what we preach and what we practice, we remember to share Jesus’ words with others as we reflect on our Lenten practice for the week. Rather than thinking: “Let us make three tents to contain the joy of God’s wisdom,” let us think instead, “Let us share the joy of God’s great gift of love”.
Tomorrow, the chalice.