What Jesus Did! 'How Terrible! (4)' — Matthew 23:23-24

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"It will be bad for you teachers of the law and Pharisees. You are hypocrites. You give God one tenth of everything you own—even your mint, dill, and cummin. But you don't obey the really important teachings of the law—being fair, showing mercy, and being faithful. These are the things you should do. And you should also continue to do those other things. You guide the people, but you are blind! Think about a person picking a little fly out of his drink and then swallowing a camel! You are like that."
— Matthew 23:23-24 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 23:23-24 NLT — "It will be bad for you teachers of the law and Pharisees."

Key Thought

In every age and in every movement of God's people, it seems that the biggest struggle we have always faced was the problem of "majoring in minors." It is so incredibly easy to get off track and find ourselves pursuing good minor pursuits at the exclusion of the important and major ones.
Jesus does not criticize the religious leaders of his day for taking scrupulous care of God's laws. What really irritates him and brings his condemnation upon them is that as they took minute care with small matters, they also completely abandoned the key matters, the core issues. You see, discipleship has always been about character and concern: reflecting the character of our Lord and being concerned about the same things that concern him. Unfortunately, we find it easy to fight over these gnat issues and swallow the camel issues. Jesus reminds us what is central: justice, mercy, and faithfulness!

Today's Prayer

O Father, help me see what is most important and focus on it without neglecting those little issues that are easy for me to keep. Please use your Spirit to stir my heart and lead me to pursue the things that show your character and grace to others and bring glory to you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-3
  • Matthew 22:34-40
  • Amos 5:24


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.

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.