I tell you that you must do better than the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. If you are not more pleasing to God than they are, you will never enter God’s kingdom.
The Gospel according to Matthew (ERV)
There are many that want to be pleasing to God. The Scribes and Pharisees wanted to be pleasing to God. They thought that by being ultra conservative they were doing what was pleasing to God. In this passage from Matthew we see Jesus telling his listeners that if they want to be pleasing to God they have to do a better job in God’s eyes than what the scribes and Pharisees are doing.
Imagine how this must have taken his audience aback. Jesus saying that the Scribes and Pharisees weren’t pleasing God in all their religiousness. Many must have thought; how can we be even more religious than them? The Scribes and Pharisees knew the law and strove to follow it to the letter, yet Jesus said that those that wish to enter the Kingdom of God would have to be more pleasing. How perplexing this must have been.
I think its the same for a lot of us today. We think if we are ultra conservative religious examples to others, we will be pleasing in God’s sight. Jesus taught something different than that. He taught that pleasing God comes from the heart not from the outward appearance of religious ultra conservatism.
Jesus was not a religious leader, he didn’t belong to a particular sect he just came to do his Father’s will. In so doing he taught us what the Father’s will is. Entry into the Kingdom of God is not granted by the right religious practices or appearances, but by obedience to Christ teachings and those of his Apostles. So if we want to gain entry into the Kingdom of God we must learn from Jesus and his Apostles what is necessary for us to obey.
So it is up to us to study the scriptures and glean from them all that God has for us. Then we must make up our minds to follow those teachings and apply them to our lives.
© 2013 Leo J. Woodman