13“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. 16“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ 17You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? 18And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’ 19How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; 21and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; 22and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it. 23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! 25“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean (Matthew 23:13-26, NRSV)
I wonder what Jesus would say about us if He were to be here today?
It is easy for us to say, Yes the Pharisees kept people from worshiping but setting up rules and regulations that were too hard to follow and didn’t actually follow themselves. But what do we say others have to do and fail to do ourselves?
I love the line, “You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” You take out the small thing that maybe won’t make a difference but ignore the big part that is the obvious thing we should be concerned with.
Let us all wash our own cup and work on our own lives from the inside out.
If we can all focus on getting our own lives in line with what Jesus calls us to do, then others will see and wonder how they can have a life like ours. Being a true witness comes from living like we should not telling others they are not doing it right.