Ever been in a situation where you try to make the decision an OR decision rather than an AND decision? Ever had people try to make your request an OR rather than an AND? Today’s reading goes into this on a very specific set of topics: giving and justice and love for God. It goes like this…
Jesus Accuses the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law
(Matthew 23.1-36; Mark 12.38-40)
37When Jesus finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and sat down to eat. 38The Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus had not washed before eating. 39So the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of your cup and plate, but inside you are full of violence and evil. 40Fools! Did not God, who made the outside, also make the inside? 41But give what is in your cups and plates to the poor, and everything will be ritually clean for you. 42“How terrible for you Pharisees! You give to God one tenth of the seasoning herbs, such as mint and rue and all the other herbs, but you neglect justice and love for God. These you should practice, without neglecting the others. 43“How terrible for you Pharisees! You love the reserved seats in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. 44How terrible for you! You are like unmarked graves which people walk on without knowing it.” 45One of the teachers of the Law said to him, “Teacher, when you say this, you insult us too!” 46Jesus answered, “How terrible also for you teachers of the Law! You put onto people’s backs loads which are hard to carry, but you yourselves will not stretch out a finger to help them carry those loads. 47How terrible for you! You make fine tombs for the prophets—the very prophets your ancestors murdered. 48You yourselves admit, then, that you approve of what your ancestors did; they murdered the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49For this reason the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and messengers; they will kill some of them and persecute others.’ 50So the people of this time will be punished for the murder of all the prophets killed since the creation of the world, 51from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the Holy Place. Yes, I tell you, the people of this time will be punished for them all! 52“How terrible for you teachers of the Law! You have kept the key that opens the door to the house of knowledge; you yourselves will not go in, and you stop those who are trying to go in!” 53When Jesus left that place, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees began to criticize him bitterly and ask him questions about many things, 54trying to lay traps for him and catch him saying something wrong. –from Luke 11
God wants to be generous by giving. God wants us to give justice and love God. God doesn’t want us to be hypocrites, He was us to live with integrity and in alignment to His Word. Will you practice what you preach? If you want people to live a certain way will you not only tell them the difference between right and wrong, but also give them a helping hand to be successful? Will you not only give but so seek justice and love for God? Or do you want to have to deal with the judgment that is coming? Today’s reading has a continuation of this topic from 2 Thessalonians 1:8-12. Yesterday I posted the full reading and will do so for context again today.
The Judgment at Christ’s Coming
3Our friends, we must thank God at all times for you. It is right for us to do so, because your faith is growing so much and the love each of you has for the others is becoming greater. 4That is why we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God. We boast about the way you continue to endure and believe through all the persecutions and sufferings you are experiencing. 5All of this proves that God’s judgment is just and as a result you will become worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. 6God will do what is right: he will bring suffering on those who make you suffer, 7and he will give relief to you who suffer and to us as well. He will do this when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven with his mighty angels, 8with a flaming fire, to punish those who reject God and who do not obey the Good News about our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from his glorious might, 10when he comes on that Day to receive glory from all his people and honor from all who believe. You too will be among them, because you have believed the message that we told you. 11That is why we always pray for you. We ask our God to make you worthy of the life he has called you to live. May he fulfill by his power all your desire for goodness and complete your work of faith. 12In this way the name of our Lord Jesus will receive glory from you, and you from him, by the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. –from 2 Thessalonians 1
Are you going to live a life that rejects God? Are you going to live a life that will disobey the Good News? Do you want to spend eternity with God or apart from God because of the choice you make? Do you believe in Jesus and who He is? Will you live today and every day in a way that will glorify God? Will you live a life with a desire for goodness? Will you allow God complete His work in you, building your faith? Allow the grace of God to cover you and share it with others.
In doing so, let give God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.
A Hymn of Praise
1I will proclaim your greatness, my God and king; I will thank you forever and ever. 2Every day I will thank you; I will praise you forever and ever. 3The Lord is great and is to be highly praised; his greatness is beyond understanding. 4What you have done will be praised from one generation to the next; they will proclaim your mighty acts. 5They will speak of your glory and majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. 6People will speak of your mighty deeds, and I will proclaim your greatness. 7They will tell about all your goodness and sing about your kindness. 8The Lord is loving and merciful, slow to become angry and full of constant love. 9He is good to everyone and has compassion on all he made. 10All your creatures, Lord, will praise you, and all your people will give you thanks. 11They will speak of the glory of your royal power and tell of your might, 12so that everyone will know your mighty deeds and the glorious majesty of your kingdom. 13Your rule is eternal, and you are king forever. The Lord is faithful to his promises; he is merciful in all his acts. 14He helps those who are in trouble; he lifts those who have fallen. 15All living things look hopefully to you, and you give them food when they need it. 16You give them enough and satisfy the needs of all. 17The Lord is righteous in all he does, merciful in all his acts. 18He is near to those who call to him, who call to him with sincerity. 19He supplies the needs of those who honor him; he hears their cries and saves them. 20He protects everyone who loves him, but he will destroy the wicked. 21I will always praise the Lord; let all his creatures praise his holy name forever.
–from Psalm 145