Sunday, October 23, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Sanctification of the Church 
Matthew 23:1-12

 

Rev. Joseph Johnny,
Kottayam

12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
                 Jesus criticizes the scribes and the Pharisees, the custodians of law. In this context Jesus warns His disciples to keep themselves away from the danger of hypocrisy and pride. He reminds them that the way of discipleship is the way of humility and servanthood.
1.     Craving for honor  – a bad example
                  The passage opens with Jesus’ recognition that the Pharisees and the Scribes sit at the seat of Moses, the original lawgiver. He never questions their authority but expresses profound regard for their position. They are the teachers and interpreters of the law in line with Moses. But Jesus criticizes them mainly on three grounds, which indeed challenge us to examine our lives and priorities.
a.       They do not practice what they teach.
b.      They impose upon the people their own additional interpretations without considering human needs and circumstances.
c.       They are not willing to help the people who are struggling to carry their loads.
2.     Commitment for servant hood– a good example
                        Again, their attitude towards greatness is challenged. They are not to be called Rabbi, they must not call any one Father and nor are they to be called Instructors. These words of Jesus, seem to be strange, must be understood in the backdrop of the religious leaders’ craving for glory and prestigious titles.  Jesus insists that the disciples must be careful and avoid the temptation of pride and prestige.
As the disciples of Jesus, we should always remember that we are simply instruments in God’s hands. Often we confuse our interest with God’s purposes and our power with God’s sovereignty. We wish ourselves to be noticed and our projects to be highlighted over against God’s plans and purposes. We fail to let God walk ahead of us.  The only way to greatness is the way of servant hood and humility.

PRAYER

Almighty Father, forgive our craving for honor and prestige, fill us with Your grace that we may consider ourselves as servants and others great. Amen

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“Jesus keeps loving and loving despite our failing and blemishes”
- (Allen Hilton)