Let Others Enter
14 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 23:13-15 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either. 15 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are! (Matthew 23:13–15 NLT)
The religious leaders of Judaism really, really knew what their Bible said. They knew its stories, its history, its laws, and its religious rituals. The thing they didn’t know was what it meant! Their Bible was a collection of writings that, for them, created an exclusive nation, religion, and way of life. Jesus’ Bible was a love letter from a God who created the world because he could, created man for loving fellowship, and created a nation and religion to model true community between God and man and man and man. With a door of faith for all. The religious leaders worshiped a God who judged and condemned anyone who wasn’t just like them. Jesus introduced a God who so loved the world he sent his only Son to redeem us all!
Friends, it’s not only first century Jewish leaders that have to be careful about this. Look what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church (and to us): Don’t imagine us leaders to be something we aren’t. We are servants of Christ, not his masters. We are guides into God’s most sublime secrets, not security guards posted to protect them. (1 Corinthians 4:1 MSG)
Guards keep everyone behind the lines and keep the precious jewels, beautiful art, and important people safe from the tourists, the customers, the “common folk!” Guides open the gate, lead the way, take the interested and excited people into the experience, guiding the way, explaining each step and detail, and make sure the visitor sees, learns, and experiences as much as they are able to take in! Are we guides leading people into God’s Kingdom or guards keeping people out?
Father, Thank you for the love that stirs your heart and moves your hand in all your actions toward the world you created and the people you created to live here. Please fill our hearts with your love for us and others! Please keep making us more like you, more moved by love and compassion to open the door and not close the gate! Amen!