It’s Holy Week, so we are following the journey of Jesus into Jerusalem on His way to the cross and reading about him teaching the people before his death. Keep in mind Passover is a festival that every Jewish family would do their absolute best to attend… you didn’t miss The Passover celebration! So the crowds are bigger than normal and the air is buzzing with a spiritual climate more real than most weeks because this is a week everyone comes to Jerusalem to remember that God delivered them from their bondage and slavery in Egypt.
The readings today have some rich stuff and it’s hard to pick just one… this is a blog after all and multiple stories lead to longer posts : )
I’ll hang out in Matthew 23:1-12. Jesus addresses the crowds just after he asked the Pharisees a question about who the Messiah’s father is. Right after they answer that The Messiah will be the Son of David, Jesus turns to the crowd and the disciples and says, “2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
Do you see the picture here? Jesus is talking with the Pharisee’s about David and The Messiah, and then he turns to the crowd and points a finger at the Pharisees and basically says, most of you are following these men and they are leading you into a ditch! He goes on to say they only do what they do to be seen and not because they are truly interested in loving and pleasing God. He ends this section with this statement, “the greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I love that. He is teaching everyone with the negative example of the Pharisee’s. Do NOT seek to lift yourself up, rather humble yourselves and serve like Jesus has shown us to live. Phil 2 comes to mind…
“5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Ok, I love this one too… “In your relationships with one another”. Combine these two things together and what you have is Jesus saying that the Pharisees are the ones who have “exalted themselves” over everyone else. God didn’t give them their position, they gave it to themselves in a human endeavor.
So this week let’s make an intentional effort to humble ourselves in our relationships with one another. Seek to serve and not to be served. Seek to lift others up in love and encouragement rather than lift your own heart up. You might just find out that the words of Jesus are true. When you humble yourself and honor and lift others up He will exalt you and lift your heart and life up!
Happy Holy week