The Story of Jesus
“I want to be just like you!” Have you ever heard that said to you or watched a young person you are mentoring or counseling begin to look to you for answers to their problems? DANGER ALERT! We never want someone to look to us or be like us! We are human. Our work is to point them to Jesus, the Savior, the PERFECT example of what to think, how to behave and, above all, how to love…unconditionally. HE has their answers to their life’s questions.
Jesus, the Christ, taught us and still teaches us how to love God and love others. (Check our yesterday’s lesson.) Today it is clear whom we should follow. After Jesus has gone several rounds with the Pharisees and Sadducees, he gives this impeccable, life-saving advice to his disciples as a follow up to why he said what he said to the religious leaders of that day. Jesus, the Master Teacher, always gives explanation after the lesson. Good method for parents and grandparents, teachers and well, everyone!
Matthew 23, The Message
Religious Fashion Shows
23 1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following THEM. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
4-7 “Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’
8-10 “Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
11-12 “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.
Be who God intended you to be and do. –Simply Jesus
Dear Heavenly Father, This is very relevant for today. We like for people to follow us and we like to follow other people…but we see the danger in doing that. Help us to stay alert. Help us to not do this to our leaders over us, always depending on them for the answers when we should be mature enough and well read in Your Word to find You and the answers from You that we need. Continue to teach us, Lord. Your servant is listening.
In Jesus Name, Amen