Thursday Morning, 17 Oct 2019 – Matthew 23:1-22 ~ Blind guides!

Thursday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: Guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our lives we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 23:1-22 (NLT)

Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.

“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’

“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!

“Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding. How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred? When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it. And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.
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Morning Reflection:

Blind guides!

“What sorrow awaits you!” – Matthew 23:16 –

In today’s reading Jesus confronts the Pharisees – arbiters of religious observance- as hypocrites and blind guides. The irony of it all was In their attempt to honor the Word of God, they were actually farthest from God.

Hypocrites – they presumed to take on Moses’ teaching authority, however…

  • They don’t practice what they teach
  • They crush people with unbearable demands
  • They’re all show, self righteous attention seekers

Blind guides

  • They rejected the Kingdom of heaven
  • They rejected Jesus’ kingdom authority
  • They did more harm than good in people’s lives
  • They misunderstood and misapplied Scripture
  • They led people to hell, over the cliff of legalism

Instead of serving people, they used their leadership positions to control them.
Jesus, by way of contrast in Matthew 20:27-29 (NLT).

“Whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Questions for consideration:

  • How would you assess the leaders of your faith community? Do they practice what the teach? Do they make excessive demands on you? Do they draw attention to themselves? Please explain.
  • How would you assess your faith community on a scale of 1 to 10 if legalistic were 1 and gracious were 10? Please explain.
  • Do you know anyone who has been harmed by the misunderstanding and misapplication of scripture? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – For Inner Renewal Through The Word of God

Gracious God and most merciful Father, you have granted us the rich and precious jewel of your holy Word: Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues; grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

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“Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” – Hillsong Worship (Germany)

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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