13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.  15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.
One translation says “What sorrow awaits…”
Jesus is speaking to the crowd about the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day.
And as I read what Jesus was saying about the Pharisees, I was struck by the thought that these teachers knew the Law thoroughly but didn’t know the God who wrote the Law for themselves.
They didn’t enter into and experience the kingdom of heaven for themselves and because of this they stopped others from experiencing the Kingdom of heaven as well.
I can’t think of anything worse than to know about God but to not know him personally. To know of his love and mercy but never experience it myself. God doesn’t want us to just know about him, he wants us to know him. God wants to be experienced, not observed.
Only when we have experienced God for ourselves, will we be truly able to tell others about him because he will then be real to us. God is not remote or distant. He invited us in to his presence, and to know him fully, personally. To only know about God, that to me is real sorrow.
Father, I am so thankful that you wanted a relationship with us, you wanted us to know you personally, that you did everything necessary to make that happen. Thank you for the joy of knowing you.
Written by Andrew Martin