Friday, November 18
Matthew 23:33-39 MSG
“Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? It’s on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation—and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse.
“You can’t squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah’s son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head. All this, I’m telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.
“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God’s news! How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me. And now you’re so desolate, nothing but a ghost town. What is there left to say? Only this: I’m out of here soon. The next time you see me you’ll say, ‘Oh, God has blessed him! He’s come, bringing God’s rule!’”
The center of unrealism was in the Pharisee, the most religious man of the day, and a great deal of the gospel narrative is the story of the clashing of the realism of Jesus with the unreality of the leaders of religion. He saw them compartmentalize their thinking and acting—“tithing mint, anise and passing over justice and the love of God”—justice which is love expressed toward man in human relationships, and love toward God. They didn’t reject these—they passed them over, put them on the side, inoperative, something to be praised but not practiced, to be worshiped but not worked… This fastening on to certain things in religion that ministered to themselves and passing by the things that demanded change in themselves was to Jesus the essence of unreality.
E. Stanley Jones, Is the Kingdom of God Realism?
Perfection carefully measures out a tithe of the smallest items.
Perfect tithes, but makes much more of justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Perfection manages all outward appearances, focusing on external imaging, while inside they are “full of greed and indulgence.”
Perfect focuses on cleansing the inside which leads to the outside being clean.