From verses 13 through 36, Jesus lets the religious leaders know how He feels about their hypocrisy. Jesus says to them: "And what about this piece of trivia: "If you shake hands on a promise, that is nothing, but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that's serious." what ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless."
"You're hopeless, you religious scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulously account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God's law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment-the absolute basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that is wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?"
Jesus calls them "Snakes! Reptilian Sneaks! He warns the religious leaders of His day and He is still speaking to use today to clean up our act. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. We have to be careful about getting hung up on the flesh, because we can dress up the flesh to look saintly and pious, but at its core we are rotten through and through and good for nothing. We are not to judge man based solely on what they say either. James says: "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of nan he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:23-24).
There's an old R&B song by the Temptations called: "Beauty's Only Skin Deep." and somewhere down the line someone added a second part to that saying that went like this: "Beauty's only skin deep, but ugly is to the bone." Jesus pronounced judgment by giving a "woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, because He could see that they were no different from the their ancestors. he said of them in Matthew 15:3: "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?" For God commanded saying, "Honor you father and your mother, and he who curses father and mother, let him be put to death.: But you say, whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me, is a gift to God."
In other words; "What I owe you, I've given to God." that can hardly be called respecting God! "You cancel God's command by your own rules. You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your traditions. Hypocrites! well did Isiah prophesy about you saying: "These people draw near to me with their mouth, And honor me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. and in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrine the commandments of men."
And this is what we see happening in our churches today. Leadership is teaching and preaching one thing, but theirs lives do not manifest the doctrine and chaste behavior that they have preached to others out of the Word of God. Paul said, "After I have preached to others, let me not be a cast off." Our worship experience is being tainted by people that have heaped up for themselves worldly treasures and idolatry. People want titles, and if they haven't earned them, they go online and buy them. Young men and women who have been called to the gospel ministry do not want to submit to leadership. They want to sit in the seat of their spiritual Father and Mother, but they don't want to serve faithfully the man or woman of God. They circumvent the process just to be given access to power and authority that rest in a name and a title, but there's is no anointing and character to uphold the call or position. If the doctrine or rules of a particular denomination is not to their liking, people change the rules and amend the constitution and bylaws of their church to suit their own selfish agendas
.Many leaders in the Ecclesiastical body of Christ, think that they are owe some type of entitlement based upon their positions, rank or titles in the church. Everyone it seems seeks recognition and favors. Our worship services have become spectator services and fashion shows, like American Idol? People don't come to hear the Word anymore, they come to see what kind of suit and shoes the pastor has on this week, or they come to see what the First Lady is wearing.
Our flocks have become intoxicated and drunk with the spirits of the world who have the Word of God on their lips, but not in their hearts. We have developed co-dependency relationships with the pastor, and other church leaders, and the people in our cliques. We are scared to make decisions because we are always trying to please the people. We are afraid to step outside of the box to get the real help that is needed. Leaders are more concerned with their paychecks, building programs, making a name for themselves, getting on TBN or the Word network, than in pleasing God and loving the flock that He gave them.
To such that espouse these characteristics, Jesus is saying a resounding, "woe!" God is after a relationship with Him. Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1). He wasn't interested in titles and positions. He also said, "That I might know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; ( Philippians 3:10). We have to be careful of these religious hound dogs that say one thing, but do not to the work of God and hold the truths of his Word. We must at all times keep our eyes on Jesus. And if you and I see leaders that truly walk in the spirit and power of God that gives us liberty in the ministry to which we have been assigned; then we must pattern ourselves after such a one, pray, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us.The Holy Spirit will guide us, give us revelation, convict us of sin in our lives and lead us intopeace.
God Bless and: "Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers!"