Yesterday I started this thought HERE. I’d like to talk about it a little further today. The Pharisees were “afraid of the crowds” (Matthew 21:46), which I think was the root of many of their problems. Their fear, their motivation, their inspiration was in the wrong place and it lead to the wrong things.
When I read that verse in Matthew 21, I was immediately reminded of Matthew 23 (which I’m preaching from this coming Sunday).
Matthew 23:5-7 says “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. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’”
Why was everything they did for show? BECAUSE their fear was based in the crowd. The HAD to impress the people. The HAD to be noticed by the people. They HAD to receive honor, respect and blessing from the people. They were pursuing life, prosperity and honor but notice the contrast of their attitude to what Proverbs 21:21 says: He who pursue righteousness and love will find life, prosperity and honor.
They had it backwards. Because they were pursuing honor they ACTED righteous. Because they were chasing prosperity they PUT ON a show. Because they desperately wanted to be alive they LIVED for the people. THAT was the Pharisees problem. I’m challenged to pursue, IN CHRIST, righteousness and love. And may I find my life, prosperity and honor in HIM alone.