(2) “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, (3) so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. (ESV)
This scenario plays out for me sometimes. I will do a great job of teaching and leading my family in the Lord for weeks or months on end and then in a moment I lose my cool about something and say things that are hurtful or terse. I am always concerned afterwards that my short-comings may have tarnished the message of Jesus in the eyes of my family.
I’m sure pastors of churches and even fellow bloggers have had the same thing occur where having delivered the most Spirit inspired sermon or created the most insightful blog post subsequent actions or a response to a comment has taken the spotlight that was turned toward Jesus and the Gospel and shined it on their own inconsistencies.
So what are we to do? Obviously, even though we are all in the process of becoming perfect like Jesus we are not there yet nor will we be until we are reunited with Him. How then do we demonstrate to those that we have influence over that even though we are not perfect the message and teaching of Jesus is?
I think the only way to do it to continue to teach and preach the message. I think it is easy to forget that it is the teaching and preaching of the Gospel that God uses to save souls and transform lives. It seems so simple though. Just proclaim the message and let God do the work. Look at today verses from Matthew. Jesus affirms this ideal that the message is the key component not the teacher. Jesus is at the beginning of a strong rebuke of the Pharisees. Notice he doesn’t initiate His rebuke by highlighting their hypocrisy. He leads His rebuke by affirming the message. Remarkably, Jesus tells his audience to listen to and do what the Pharisee teach, and then He proceeds to rip into them for their hypocrisy.
I guess that’s my real point for today. The herald of the message is never greater than the message. The eyewitness of an event is never greater than the event. The Pharisees became so enamored with the ideal that they were special because the were given the task of teaching and sharing the message of God that they forgot they too needed to observe and learn from it. Let it not be so with us.
Heavenly Father, thank you God for your presence in our lives. Thank you for your unending faithfulness to reconcile your creatures back to you. Thank you God that you use the imperfect to bear witness to your perfection. Help us today to not only be heralds of your message but also hearers. Help us today to not only be teachers of your Word but also doers. Forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness. We lift your name high and offer you praise. In Jesus name. Amen.