God’s Loving Warning to Us, part 2
The Offering Plate – Woe to those who carefully attend to the easy commands of God, but neglect his difficult and weightier requirements.
If the scribes and Pharisees are very careful to give a tenth of everything, including the smallest income of herbs, why would Jesus bring it up when pronouncing judgment on them? They focused on the lighter law, tithing, while ignoring the weightier matters of justice, mercy and faithfulness. They were turning a blind-eye to the things on which God focuses.
Blessed are the people who pursue the will and ways of God.
Dirty Dishes – Woe to people who clean outwardly what others see, but ignore the inward dirt and grime, such as greed and self-indulgence.
The scribes and Pharisees were careful to protect their images and reputations.
We are at great risk when we think that integrity doesn’t matter. Protecting our image publicly, while discounting our integrity privately, damages our heart and soul deeply, and it causes damage to others too.
It is difficult to love, to experience joy and to have settled peace while we concentrate on outward appearances.
Jesus starts with our hearts and cleans his way outwardly. The counterfeit does the opposite.
Ask: “I want to live genuinely with God and others, without hypocrisy. Will you help me? When you see, hear or perceive a lack of integrity in me, will you please call it to my attention? When my attitudes and words don’t match the truth, love and compassion of Jesus, will you alert me? When I seem self-centered and self-focused, will you ask me if I need to surrender my focus? These attitudes and actions rob me and people around me of genuine love, joy and peace, which I want to experience and share with them. Your input in my life is greatly needed, sincerely desired, and much appreciated.”
Blessed are the people who allow God to clean them from the inside out.
Whitewash Tombs – Woe to those who attempt to be spiritually clean outwardly without genuine inward spiritual transformation by God.
We must come to Jesus for spiritual life—to be an altogether new creation and life, made alive by the Holy Spirit.
Blessed are the people who are transformed by God through Jesus.
The Cross – Woe to people who claim to love the prophets of God, but discount and deny their words of truth, including the way of salvation.
The generation of scribes and Pharisees believed themselves to be more spiritually astute than the previous generations. Every generation is susceptible to this kind of thinking, including us.
The call of God to every generation is to recognize that apart from God, there is no one righteous. We must all turn from our sin and our attempts of self-righteousness and, in faith, turn to God, who lovingly extends mercy and grace to us through Jesus, who shed his blood to cleanse us and declare us righteous.
Blessed are people who trust God, believe his word, call upon Jesus to be saved and live under his lordship.