Matthew 23:13-39

In the past I’ve heard people say something like “If only I had lived when Jesus lived, and been able to see him and touch him, etc.” I think that if I had lived back then, I would have been a Pharisee, looking good but missing the whole point…. Majoring on the minors. Hopefully, eventually I would have come to faith in Jesus like Nicodemus did. Several lines stick out to me here.

19. You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?

I read something on this a couple of years ago. It seems to say that anything placed on the altar is made sacred. The altar makes the gift sacred. I looked that up in the dictionary, and part of the meaning is consecrated, holy, set apart. If I place my job, for instance, on the altar, it becomes sacred. If I place myself on the altar, I become sacred. The problem is that I keep jumping off the altar.

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. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.

There is an old saying, “You can’t tell a book by its cover.” What is on the inside is a better indicator of quality that what shows on the outside. This reminds me to examine my inner self – my motives, my wants, my thoughts, etc. Is there hidden anger, bitterness, pride, laziness? Whenever I find these weeds growing, (and I do) I need to confess them to the Lord. He is the Master Gardener of our hearts when we invite Him to come and dwell within.

28. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

How I look to others is not a measure of my true standing with Jesus.  God looks at our hearts.

37. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

He wanted to gather but they were not willing. Reminds me of picking up a child to hug them and they pull away, maybe throwing a tantrum, wanting to go somewhere they shouldn’t.

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