The life of Jesus shocked the religious world of His day. They had become so staunch in their tradition that they had pushed the Word of God completely aside. Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (Matthew 23:23). They judged wrongly and neglected “justice”. They lorded over those they deemed lesser and neglected “mercy”. They sought to go to Heaven through ceremony and therefore neglected “faithfulness”. One thing we know for sure, the Pharisees saw themselves as better than everyone else. And, they spent no time trying to lessen the burdens of their fellow man. Jesus said again, “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger” (Matthew 23:4). Never was Jesus harder on a group of people. The bulk of Matthew 23 is a scathing condemnation of the religious conservatives of Jesus’ day.
Todd Bryant is the Lead Elder at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. He has pastored there since 1998. For more more information on the church and links to audio sermons and apps for electronic devices, visit www.sovereigngrace.net