20 I say to you that unless your righteousness is greater than the righteousness of the legal experts and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Debra and I were taking our dog Abbie for a walk last week. She is always ready for a stroll, and we have great places to walk, around the block or Freedom Park, which is along the way.
I didn’t notice Abbie looking at someone’s home. But Debra did and said Abbie was looking at a scarecrow. She didn’t bark. But she did look mystified at the scarecrow. It wasn’t a scary one, in fact I think it had a smile on its face.
It made me think about how the Jews in Jesus’ day looked at the pharisees. Pharisees looked to be a sure lock to make it to Heaven. I’m sure all, or most of the Jews felt that way. But let’s look at what Jesus said about the pharisees and the experts of the Law, in Matthew 5:20. “I say to you that unless your righteousness is greater than the righteousness of the legal experts and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” And what he said didn’t make them happy.
It wouldn’t be the last time Jesus spoke poorly of the experts of the law and the pharisees. But imagine how the crowds felt when they heard what Jesus said during the “Sermon on the Mount.” I think mystified” would successfully describe how the people felt.
I’m sure there are many times we expect people to make it to heaven. But Jesus is the judge. And grace is His yardstick, not the law or even the ten commandments. Thank God for grace. I know I can never be good enough, but that’s what grace is all about.
by Rick Reed
For Pondering & Prayer
Thank God for grace. And thank God that the Trinity are our judges. For the measure by we judge others will be the measure by we’ll be judged.
Prayer: Lord, help us not to judge. Help us to be merciful, to others, and to ourselves. Amen.