Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Matthew 23:25-26

"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. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Jesus held nothing back in His words to the Pharisees and the religious leaders. He had spent 3 years of His ministry trying to teach them...and they just got more and more jealous of Him. To a point they wanted Him dead.

Even though Jesus' words were harsh to the religious leaders...He spoke truth to them. Human rules, practices and interpretations became more important than God's Law. Jesus condemned the Pharisees as hypocrites.

His words were uncharacteristically harsh, though not unjustifiably harsh. He was justified in His rebuke to them. The normal form of rebuke He made to sinners was, gentle. He spoke tenderly, though firmly to the woman caught in adultery, and to the woman at the well. It seems that Jesus saved His severe comments for the big boys! Those theological professionals...with them He spared no words.

"The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men" (Isaiah 29:13).

The old saying is, "Nothing dispels a lie better than the truth." Or "Nothing reveals a fake better than the genuine article." What every counterfeiter fears is that you would hold that fake up to the real thing and see that is is worthless.

Jesus was the real deal. The presence of Jesus represented the genuine in the midst of bogus fakes. Here authentic holiness appeared...and they were being exposed for the snakes that they were.

Yet, Jesus went to the cross even for them. He never said, "I'll get you!" He left the judging to God. He actually prayed for them..."Forgive them Lord for they don't know what they are doing?"

If there was a person who deserved revenge it is Jesus...instead He died for them. How could He do that? I don't even know...but it makes any untruths spoken about me seem small. All of a sudden my wounds are very painless in comparison. All my grudges and hard feelings seem childish when I compare them to the cross.

The next time you face criticism, consider how Jesus carefully chose His words and used Scripture to answer His opponents.

Mama Barb

1 John 1:8, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." (NIV)

John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV)

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