Today’s faithful daily read is from Luke 11:33-36 & 1 Thess 2:11-12
Jesus is teaching about light. The whole person should be light. In fact he says, “our eyes are like lamps that bring lightness or darkness into our hearts”
Pharisee: Nice teaching Jesus. I hadn’t heard that one. Original material? Perhaps you would like to join us for lunch, just a few pharisees and teachers getting together to exchange some big ideas…
Teacher of Law: Hey did you see that? Jesus hasn’t ritually purified and now he’s eating. Someone really ought to say something…
Jesus: Wo! you hypocrites! Outside you look all shiny and clean but Inside you are all greed and filth.
The Pharisees and teachers have suddenly lost their appetite. The teaching on light that probably got Jesus the lunch invite is now the very thing they are all choking on. Jesus’ teachings were nice when they were ambiguous. Just nice broad ideas. But suddenly Jesus is saying that their ‘inside lives’ are dark places.
The pharisees are condemned for ritually clean exterior religion but dark swampy sin interior. You perform external religious tithing but withhold justice. You seek glory. You are like horrible graves containing rotting bodies that people step into and are become unclean themselves… And you teachers are so caught up in codifying such an impossible way to follow God that people despair, and you wont help them! In fact, Jerusalem is just one big religious hothouse of hypocrisy ready to kill the next bringer of light. The indictment is ferocious. Shepherds, leaders and teachers have frightening responsibility.
Jesus is no longer a popular teacher on the ‘A List’. He is a troublemaker. And everything He had just said about murdering the prophets is about to be self-fulfilling. Rabbis who tickle ears with abstract ideas about light are welcome. Rabbis who shine real light into dark places are not welcome.
Meanwhile in Thess Paul reminds the believers that he was like a father to them, ‘encouraging, comforting and urging’ them to lives worthy of God. How different Paul was to the Pharisees who wanted to enforce ritual conformity but not encourage people to live lives worthy of the God of light.
Pray for your teachers this morning that we might be faithful, encouraging, truthful and transparent.
(nervously teaching this morning) Geoff