Matthew 23:13-33 – Blind Guides

Read Matthew 23:13-33

You’ve heard the saying, “the blind leading the blind.” Maybe today’s reading is a source for that? Jesus’ rant continues. Often we, too, follow blindly without giving much thought to our actions. We get used to a routine, a pattern of doing things. Over time, these patterns can become traditions that lose their meaning and focus. Likewise, it has happened to these religious leaders. They have taken a common belief or action and let it morph over time to something that is not right.

What sorrow awaits. This is a phrase that repeats itself over and over. That doesn’t sound like sunshine and roses. Jesus is disgruntled with these people. They are missing the point and have twisted the law. It is not clear how and why that happened. But when you are more concerned with what is ON the altar rather than the altar itself (just one example) there does seem to be something amiss.

Yet the religious leaders seem to be oblivious to their faults. Jesus is full of passion and wants them to understand the truth. He wants that for us, too. We know that Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life. These particular Pharisees and religious leaders were not so sure. What do you think they thought when Jesus started talking about “sorrow?”

Sorrow to me means sadness. A feeling of forlorn. It’s what you experience when you lose a loved one, a pet, a job. Jesus is warning these people they will feel the regret, the distress, the disappointment. In business, we often call this FOMO (the “fear of missing out”). These religious leaders were missing out on an opportunity to speak with God and learn from him. They would also not be assured a place in the God’s kingdom. Didn’t they care?

“How will you escape the judgment of hell?” Did they have a Plan B? Did they think they were immune because they were anointed leaders, wearing the robes, reading the Scripture, going through the motions? There is only one guarantee, and that is faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Clearly, they had not jumped into that camp. In fact, they were trying to stay as far away from it as possible.

We need to be mindful of our destiny as well. Our admittance into the kingdom of God is not sure just because we go to church or pray. God knows our heart. Our relationship with Jesus is our ticket. That’s why it’s so important for us to share the gospel–not everyone knows about Jesus. The Pharisees did, and they made their decision. People need to have the opportunity to know and trust Jesus. What are you doing to further the kingdom today?

Let’s pray. Lord, you want all of us with you in eternity. You have planted in our hearts the desire to be with you. Help me be better at showing others the way. May I be bolder in my own evangelism and outreach. Take away the fear if that’s my reason. Take away the distractions that are holding me back. I look forward to being exactly where you want me to be, helping others find their way to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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