Good morning and Happy Friday!
I have been reading in the book of Matthew this week as I continue on in The Message with commentary by Eugene Peterson for a 2021 read through of the Bible.
I do love the succinct way the words of Peterson’s translation make me rethink what I thought I knew of Scripture.
Hearing it in the way I speak helps it sink in a little deeper. (Which also might explain why Bible translation as a ministry to all the nations is so important…but I digress..)
I want to share a passage for you to chew on and then I will share some of my thoughts that were stirred.
I want to emphasize…my thoughts are just my musing. They are not a Biblical study, just what my mind got as I read. I do pray for God to give me understanding, but none of these are the proverbial “hill to die on’ in a faith debate.
So here is the Scripture:
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.”Matthew 23:1-3 The Message
He goes on to describe how these teachers of the Law actually DO live and then he adds this instruction:
“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.”Matthew 23: 8-9
He has more to say, of course and I am not meaning to pull anything out of context. I hope my comments and thoughts are in line biblically.
Here are a few points I pulled out:
#1 – I have wondered about this and even had it come up in conversation during a recent Bible study. What happens when a Biblical scholar, author and teacher who has fed us with good material and deep truths turns out to have severe character flaws? Are the teachings of that person also flawed and thus we must disregard all we learned as lies?
I don’t see that in what Jesus is saying. He commends the TEACHING and recommends following what is being taught. What he condemns is following the behavior and practice of the one doing the teaching.
#2 – We seem to have a tendency in this culture (and probably all cultures because we really are all pretty much the same) to follow people instead of teachings. It is easier to glob on to a charismatic person than it is to dig into what God’s word says and prayerfully begin to apply it in a way that establishes our own walk, calling, situation and circumstances.
Case in point, I personally spend way more time checking the words of various personalities on Instagram than I do reading the words of God in Scripture and the teachings of Biblical scholars that are readily available. I let other people’s brief posts fuel my faith instead of the Living Word of God.
#3 – We can also surmise from Jesus’ words that we want to be careful to live in a way that backs up what we know, believe, speak and live. IF I speak truth, but live lies…well…I am like the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. I will never live perfectly and I refuse to let my life be held up to the magnifying glass of this new censorship that is based on man’s laws and not God’s….BUT….I will make every effort to remind myself to be praying for the Holy Spirit to convict me and for God to keep my heart tender to those convictions so that I can confess and repent and be renewed as I continue to ….
Would love to hear what the passages stirred in your hear.