Continuing on with our study through Matthew, I was cruising through Matthew 23 again this morning. It's such a sobering look at Jesus' lashing out at the religious leaders of the day. For sure I don't want to simply throw religious leaders under the bus, as I am one; but the call for religious leaders to continue being honest with their own heart as they practice faith is un-deniable.
"Woe to you, teachers
of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of
heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let
those enter who are trying to.
This is especially poignant to me in my own journey. I trained as an actor in my undergraduate work, and Jesus is specifically referring to the Pharisees and teachers in lieu of an acting term. Hypocrite is actually a word used to describe someone who puts on a different character and acts out a story.
So here Jesus combines the religious people with the art of acting. Evidently they were making it impossible for people to enter the kingdom of heaven, and even though they thought they were in God's Kingdom, they were kept from entering it themselves.
I've read a lot recently about a current debate "The New Gospel" versus "The Old Gospel." It's interesting to see how certain people want to just continue ranting against the religious leadership of the day; while others rant against the people that aren't 'IN' the Kingdom.
It seems to me here, Jesus is calling all people to be humble of heart. Stop acting! Live life as men and women all under God's Kingdom; rather than trying to create man made kingdoms masked as God's.
I hope we can reach out and be people who know the Big Kingdom (God's Kingdom.)
My prayer as Christian leaders lead us into Kingdom, we can all be REAL.
It's my hope as God's Kingdom continues to be built, we can rally together, and help others understand our mission, "To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8)