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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Matthew 23: The Case Against Religious Leaders

In the twenty-third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we have a summary of Jesus Christ's issues with the religious leaders of his day. Interestingly, when we look at Christ's enumeration of those issues, many of us have noted that the same observations could be made about religious leaders in our own time. Don't think so? Let's take a closer look.

Talking about the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus said:

1. They don't set a good example. They don't practice what they preach.

2. They impose burdensome moral standards on others which they don't follow themselves.

3. They do what they do for an audience of humans, NOT for God. They crave public acclaim/recognition.

4. They actively exclude people from the Kingdom of Heaven.

5. They solicit converts to their belief system and make them even more obnoxious than themselves.

6. They prioritize the material over the spiritual.

7. They major in the minors. They focus their energy and attention on unimportant things.

8. They focus on appearances rather than substance. How something looks to others is more important to them than satisfying God or their own consciences.

9. They praise biblical prophets and righteousness while actively working to pervert our understanding of them. Moreover, they simultaneously condemn the way that others have treated those subjects.

(See Matthew 23:1-35)

Does any of that sound familiar? For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it should!

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