The Weightier versus Trivia

Jesus spoke seven woes of hypocrisy in Matthew 23.  The following is the fourth woe Jesus described:

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”

The scribes and Pharisees’ tithing was meticulous and noteworthy; but hypocritical because it served to soothe the guilt of their neglect of the weightier matters of the Law.  Jesus saw how they concerned themselves with trivial matters while they missed the big picture.  They were lawless, faithless, and merciless yet they presented themselves in the opposite manner. Their fruit or lack thereof proved His point.

I met a Jewish couple on a recent trip who obsessed over their food being totally kosher.  The food could not touch anything unclean or they could not eat it.  Removing the blood out of a gnat as part of the “kosher” process and indicated the scribes and Pharisees’ obsession with the meaningless as they failed to see the big picture because of their blindness (eating the camel).

It is both possible and common to be distracted with relatively trivial matters while a lost world perishes.  People are missing the point of saving and serving mankind from destruction while they focus on trivial matters.  They are lawless yet they present themselves as being qualified to judge all men.  Their fruit gives them away just as Jesus pointed out the hypocrisies in the seven woes presented in Matthew 23.

Men continue to miss the point as they seek status and position versus having a willing heart to serve others.  They seek a title as though it will bestow some type of power and authority but it is only an illusion.  They seek status and wealth in order to rid themselves of the necessity to work yet what is the point of sitting around all day doing nothing?  We are called to be productive for the Kingdom and minister life to others, not extract and exploit them.  Jesus quite clearly contrasted they attributes of someone great in the Kingdom:

11 “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Those exalting themselves will be humbled by FATHER’S corrective judgment.  Peter understood this all too well when he was so zealous during Jesus’ earthly ministry but then denied Him three times when the pressure arrived.  Pressure brings out the true nature of people.  They can present themselves as mature believers when all is good but when they are placed in challenging conditions you will see their level of faith IN HIM.  The lawlessness found in their heart will surface for all to see.  People tend to judge others by their actions while they judge themselves by their “intent”.  The seven woes are intended to show us the difference between the important aspects of our walk versus the trivial focus many obsess over.

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