Thanks for joining us on this journey of building a consistent habit of reading our Bibles every day. The Bible reading plan we are using this year can be found here: One Year Bible or here on the Bible app. As always, if you miss a day, don’t feel compelled to go back and catch up. Just skip it and start back on today’s date. I am reading the NLT this year, but feel free to use whatever version you prefer. Now here are some thoughts from today’s readings:
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.“
– Matthew 23:27
Here Jesus talks pretty strongly to the religious elite, the Pharisees and scribes. It’s easy to read these things and think, “Get ’em Jesus! Those no good religious people!” But that is exactly the attitude Jesus is warning against. Again, we can’t read the Bible as if God is speaking to “those” people. He is always speaking to us.
As with any issue, it’s easy to see the negative religious ideologies in others, while being not so easy to see in ourselves. I bet if we allow ourselves for just a moment to pretend that we are the Pharisees, we find find that more of Jesus ‘woes’ here apply to us than we care to admit. In fact, the religious thing to do would be to automatically assume He is talking about someone other than you.
So, if you don’t want to be like these religious funddy-duddies, here’s what you do: reread Matthew 23:13-39, but this time, pretend Jesus isn’t talking about the Pharisees and imagine He is talking about you. Then, ask yourself how you should respond to such a challenge from Christ Himself. This is how we should always read the Bible.
Which of these challenges from Jesus hit you hardest? What are you going to do about it?