Food for Thought-Jesus’ Three Point Plan for Dealing with Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-12)

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1.  Find the Pharisees in your life.  Know who they are, don’t be afraid to confront them, stand before them, and face them head on.

2.  Identify their weaknesses.  Jesus rightly points out the things they do to be publicly noticed by others.  Jesus then links the manner in which they tie their prayer tassels to the way they bind or tie the law to those around them.  Again, for others to see.  People can see what they do is for public consumption and oppressive.  It’s clear.  People may be afraid to say this publicly or make the connection “out loud”.  Jesus is not.  He wants people to see reality as it is and for what it is.

3.  Encourage people to be better than and/or different than the religious role models they’ve received (and been taught to believe are the ‘norm’).  We shouldn’t live like that.  We should publicly, noticeably, try to live in a way that doesn’t call attention to ourselves.  In verse eight, Jesus stresses a sense of equality utterly foreign to the Pharisees and other religious practices of his day, “all of you are brothers and sisters.  “Don’t call anybody on earth your father, because you have one Father who is heavenly.”  Jesus is trying to make the point that leadership is about service not about titles and duties we afford ourselves.  Those who don’t tie others up with religious red tape and like the place of honor at banquets, those are the ones who he says will be lifted up.

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