23 “How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You give God a tenth of your spices, like mint, dill and cummin. But you have not practiced the more important things of the law, like fairness, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the last things without failing to do the first. 24 You blind guides! You remove the smallest insect from your food. But you swallow a whole camel! 25 “How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You clean the outside of the cup and dish. But on the inside you are full of greed. You only want to satisfy yourselves. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish. Then the outside will also be clean. 27 “How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You pretenders! You are like tombs that are painted white. They look beautiful on the outside. But on the inside they are full of the bones of the dead. They are also full of other things that are not pure and clean. 28 It is the same with you. On the outside you seem to be doing what is right. But on the inside you are full of what is wrong. You pretend to be what you are not.
V.23b…You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
Jesus words here are strong – “what sorrow awaits you…”. Here are leaders and teachers who obey the letter of the law when it comes to minute details in tithing their herbs. They have commitment? Yes – but Jesus says it’s not to the important things.
I wonder why Jesus said “sorrow” and not “judgement”? Were these people wholeheartedly thinking that this was what God was looking for? Were they going to be saddened to discover they got it wrong?
I don’t want to be saddened when I stand before Jesus. I don’t want to have him to point to what should have been important and say: “What we’re you thinking?”
Like David in Ps 139, oh God I pray that you would search my heart and point out anything that offends you – keep my eyes fixed on You so I know what is important and walk in it with You and for You.
Written by Ps. Linda Quinn