Todays readings.. 1 Chronicles 2, Ezekiel 15, Luke 11.
Our Luke reading today features Jesus’ criticism of the religious leaders. They were obsessed with unimportant ritual. They had elaborated on the straightforward commandments of Moses about washing hands and making sure cups and vessels were clean. What really motivated them to do this?
The ritual they had created was more important to them than the reason for the commandment. The lesson Jesus draws from this failure is one we must value. He says, “You Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness” (11 v.39).
The outward appearance, what other people saw, was most important to them. They did things which would be seen by others, creating the image that they were righteous, good living people. The way politics is often played out today for the media, provides us with a 21st Century parallel.
Jesus went on to comment that they gave a tithe (a tenth of the value) of all the little things (v.42) but “neglect justice and the love of God.” Let us beware; spirituality can so easily be just a façade. Some churches are a bad odour today when the façade collapses.
God’s anger built up against that generation; they had seen all the wonders of His Son’s miracles. Our generation has learnt far more than any other about the intricate miracles of what God did at the creation of the world; things that had previously been beyond human sight.
Yet, more and more people have locked their minds into believing there is no God!! However, those who are fully convinced there is One God and that the Bible is his message must make sure that this conviction is on the inside! This is where God looks! What Peter wrote is so meaningful; “let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” [1 Pet.3 v.4]. This surely applies to both men and women, make sure it applies to you.