Day 2 of our Passion Week Devotions
We are called to read 3 chapters of Matthew; 23-25 yes that's a lot & I will only touch on a few. But each story is only a part of Jesus' journey.
All of chapter 23 is Jesus confronting the hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders. Vs 5 - "Everything they do is done for people to see..." Jesus uses many word symbols in describing these hypocritical leaders: blind guides; those who strain out a gnat but swallow a camel; white-washed tombs; snakes; brood of vipers. Everything they did was for show & for power. They had murdered God's prophets, gave a tenth of their firstfruits but neglected justice, mercy, & faithfulness, looked real nice on the outside but on the inside they were full of greed & self-indulgence. Jesus then once again grieves over Jerusalem - the rejection of the Messiah & the Good News He brings. Has worship become just the place we come all dressed up, going through the rituals, putting something in the offering plate, & singing our favorite hymns? Surely our worship does not look like what Jesus was rebuking the Jewish religious leaders for.
Chapter 24 is all about the future. Jesus first warns His disciples about false prophets, false Messiahs; those who will come & even possibly do great signs & wonders only to deceive followers of Jesus. He let them know they would be persecuted, put to death, & hated by all nations because of Him. Many will turn away from their faith & there will be an increase in wickedness. Vs 21 - "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again." After this disturbing news, Jesus tells of His return. Vs 35 reminds us that heaven & earth will pass away, but Jesus' words will always remain. Then Jesus tells that no one will know what day He will return. We are just to KEEP WATCH! What does this mean to you?
Our final chapter #25, Jesus first teaches about those who are ready & those who are not for His return. He uses the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids & the Parable of the Loaned Money to make His points. Then, those verses 31-46 - "Jesus Tells of the Final Judgment." Sheep will be separated from goats. We are reminded that whatever we have done on earth for the least of our brothers & sisters, we have done for Jesus Himself. Or what we have not done for the least of our brothers & sisters, we have not done for Jesus Himself. There are only two paths; eternal punishment or eternal life. Reflect on what this means for you.
As you read each of these chapters, hear these words as if Jesus Himself is saying them to you. They are "written in red." Jesus' words still teach us today, still apply to us today, & still guide us today! Let's use this time of social distancing as a time to move closer to God!
Blessings & Peace to all.