Eventually, how you live will “out preach” what you preach. Preach what you live.
Jesus is famous for a lot of things. Healing the sick. Raising the dead. Casting out devils. Dying for our sins. Being raised from the dead. Ascending to the Father.
He’s also pretty famous for how He interacted with the Pharisees. Let’s talk about that.
When you look at what Jesus did and said to the Pharisees you could infer that He wasn’t a fan. I would tend to disagree. I see His interactions with them as a frustration or provocation to change.
We will be looking at Matthew 23 for this post.
1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They 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.
Matthew 23:1-3, Message
Jesus comes out of the gate swinging! He tells His disciples and the crowd around Him that they can follow what they teach about the law, but not to follow them in how they live. I don’t think Jesus is saying that they are living lives full of sin, but He is saying that they aren’t allowing their teachings to change their lives.
4-7 “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. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. 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.’
Matthew 23:1-3, Message
The hard weight of rules is extremely heavy. It’s a burden you can’t get out from underneath. Rules aren’t inherently bad. They are good! They are for our protection. They are to keep us safe.
The good rules aren’t what Jesus is talking about. He’s talking about the extra rules. The “nitpicky” rules. The unnecessary rules. Those types of rules make Him upset.
Jesus expects His leaders to only place the rules and burdens on people that He does. Easy and Light.
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30, AMP
25-26 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.
27-28 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.
Matthew 23:25-28, Message
I think this is Jesus’ biggest complaint: your outside doesn’t match your inside. What does it profit you if you look and sound great on the outside if on the inside you are rotting? God doesn’t care about how you look externally but He wants your heart to look immaculate.
For us to be able to really love people as God does we must live like He lives. How does He live? Completely. He’s not bipolar. He doesn’t have multiple personalities. His insides completely match His outsides.