What Jesus Did! 'Righteousness!' — Matthew 5:20

Saturday, February 20, 2021

[Jesus continued:] "But I warn you — unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!"
— Matthew 5:20 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus repeatedly and even deliberately enters into conflict with the Pharisees and teachers of religious law (or scribes, in some translations) in Matthew's gospel. Why? Why are Jesus' most scathing denunciations directed at those most recognized as the religious in his society? Jesus is concerned because God's truth often gets lost in their arguments over theoretical and picky religious subjects. Their goal seems to revolve around trying to justify themselves and their actions without displaying the righteousness and grace of God. Jesus wants his disciples to demonstrate the intent of the law in our lives. He wants us, as God's children, to display the heart and character of God in our daily lives. He wants his disciples to be a new generation that has living the righteousness and grace of God as its consuming passion.

Today's Prayer

Father, I want to be righteous. I want to live my life in a way that reflects your love for the lost, your compassion for the broken, your passion for holiness, and your disdain for hypocrisy. I know that this holy life is not possible on my own, so please cleanse me and make me holy by the power of your Spirit. Please bring forth the righteous character of your Son in me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Matthew 23:2-3
  • Romans 8:3-4

Comments

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Illustration

Illustration of Matthew 5:20 NLT — [Jesus continued:] "But I warn you — unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.