Thursday, 14 January 2021
Title: Blind Guides
By: Dr. Tho Lye Mun
Jesus life was a demonstration of grace and compassion. He walked where no religious teacher would go, to seek out those that no one else would touch. He healed damaged lives and restored broken souls. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 (NKJV). Those who met him, understood what love was, and how love felt.
Yet Jesus did reserve strong words for one group of people. No, it wasn’t the prostitutes, the tax collectors or the adulterers. It wasn’t the sick, the poor or even the Roman occupying force, as far as the bible records for us. It was the church. Or more specifically, the Pharisees and teachers of the law. What! Say that again? You mean the people entrusted to shepherd the flock, to convey the word of God, to lead worship and to point believers towards God. Listen what Jesus had to say in Matthew 23:2-17 (NLT)
2 “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. 3 So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
5 “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. 6 And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. 7 They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’
8 “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. 9 And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. 10 And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.
15 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!
16 “Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ 17 Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?
Jesus seems to tell us that whilst we should obey what they teach us, but we should not copy the religious teachers’ lifestyle. They are charaterized by being overbearing, making and enforcing rules, yet not wanting to walk beside people in their difficulties. They prioritize maintaining external appearances whilst inwardly they are “dead” (Matthew 23:27). They are even very active in mission work, traveling far and wide yet turning converts into “twice the child of hell you yourselves are!”. Their attitude to money and resources are idolatrous. Eventually they would plot to murder Jesus.
Sobering words. Sobering words from the Lord who knows the deepest inclinations and secrets of our heart. How do we avoid this pharisaical trap? I humbly submit that rules and regulations and should never come before the gospel. Church is not an organisation or set of action plans, it is a gathering of believers who love the Lord and want to share that love with those who do not know Him.
Lord, help us to love You above all else. Help us to remember Your goodness always. Let this shape our lives and conduct. Thank You, Jesus.
耶稣确是向一群人说了些重话，不是妓女、税吏或犯奸滛罪的人，根据圣经记载，这不是病人丶穷人，甚至不是占领了犹太人土地的罗马人，却是教会！更具体地说，是法利赛人和文士。什么！ 再说一次？ 您的意思是指受委托带领羊群丶传达上帝圣言丶带领崇拜，并指引信徒走向上帝的人。请听耶稣在马太福音23：2-17中所说的话：
＂_2文士和法利赛人坐在摩西的位上， 3凡他们所吩咐你们的，你们都要谨守遵行，但不要效法他们的行为；因为他们能说，不能行。 4他们把难担的重担捆起来，搁在人的肩上，但自己一个指头也不肯动。
_5他们一切所作的事都是要叫人看见，所以将佩戴的经文做宽了， 衣裳的䍁子做长了， 6喜爱筵席上的首座，会堂里的高位， 又喜爱人在街市上问他安，称呼他拉比 。
_8但你们不要受拉比的称呼，因为只有一位是你们的夫子；你们都是弟兄。 9也不要称呼地上的人为父，因为只有一位是你们的父，就是在天上的父。 10也不要受师尊的称呼，因为只有一位是你们的师尊，就是基督。 你们中间谁为大，谁就要作你们的用人。 12凡自高的，必降为卑；自卑的，必升为高。
耶稣像是在告诉我们：尽管我们应该遵从这些宗教老师教给我们的东西，但我们不应该仿效他们的生活方式。 他们具有统治，制定和执行规则的能力，但是他们不愿意走到有困难的人的身旁。他们只重视外表，內里却是＂死去＂的（马太福音23:27）。 他们甚至在宣教工作中显得非常活跃，四处奔波，但将追随者变成像他们自己一样的＂地狱的孩子＂甚至加倍！他们视金钱和物质如偶像，最后，他们甚至合谋杀害耶稣。