Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for a peace at this time.
Matthew 23:29-36 (NRSV)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.
One of my favorite pastors tells about losing his temper when a woman in front of him in the grocery store’s express lane proceeded to check out more than the allowed number of items. She actively ignored his tirade, so he said, “Very well, just go to hell in a grocery basket!” Shortly thereafter he realized that he was wearing his clerical collar—and he felt pretty ashamed. He had not lived out the way of Christ though he was outwardly displaying the symbolic covering of a Christian—and a Christian leader at that!
Jesus had no use for religious pretenders (as this entire chapter describes in no uncertain terms). Real damage is done to our witness for God when we outwardly claim to be a servant of Christ, but our lives are self-serving. Let us beware of using God’s gifts of life, truth, and grace as tools of exploitation for our own personal gain or as weapons of punishment to those we may judge as being beneath us. Let us seek to live the way of Jesus and avoid the litany of woes in the scripture above.
Loving, omnipotent God, you know us inside and out, yet you still love us more than we can imagine. Thank you! Help us to live as Jesus taught. Let us daily be motivated by your eternal love for us and for all creation so that your kingdom will come and your will may be done even here on this earth. Let your light shine on us and through us so others will see the light and give you the glory! We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Go with God.