BIBLE READING: MATTHEW 23
1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Jesus always told it like it was. As He honestly assesses the ministry of the Pharisees, Jesus has some interesting insight. There was not much of a ministry at all. Jesus was speaking to the multitude and to His disciples, but as always, He was totally honest.
“THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES SIT”
They sure did. They enjoyed occupying the seat of Moses, or the authority and judgement seat. The problem was, all they did was sit and judge. A lot of church people are like that. Pretty much modern Pharisees. They sit and judge, but rarely work to really minister. Jesus said to His disciples to do “what” they say to do, because it was law, but do not do “as” they do. The Pharisees were sitting in a seat, while the disciples were changing the world.
“THEY BIND HEAVY BURDENS…….AND LAY THEM ON MEN’S SHOULDERS”
That is what religion can do if you’re not careful. Religion puts burdens on people, Jesus removes them. Whenever you follow tradition instead of truth, it always produces a burden. These burdens that the Pharisees were putting on people were called that because they were requirements that no one could keep. As we share our faith, it should be teaching people that sin brings a burden too heavy to bear. Our faith teaches that Jesus has released us from that burden and freed us from the power of sin. Why then would we want to put burdens right back on people after Jesus worked so hard to free them from it?
“THEY THEMSELVES WILL NOT MOVE THEM WITH ONE OF THEIR FINGERS”
The Pharisees put the burdens on people, and they never even lifted a finger to help them with it. Any religion that burdens people, and then does nothing to help them with the burden, is false religion. It is centered on man, and not the Master. May you and I not be like that today. May we lift our “fingers” to help others with their burdens. Let’s remind people of what David said:
* Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.