March 16, 2019

March 16, 2019

March 16, 2019
by Mike Sluder

Matthew 23:4-7; 37-39

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you. How often I wanted to gather your people together, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that. 38 Look, your house is left to you deserted. 39 I tell you, you won’t see me until you say, Blessings on the one who comes in the Lord’s name.”[b] 
Oh how Jesus longs to gather us together! Even in the midst of this time when we find ourselves discussing our divisions Jesus is longing to gather us together. These verses follow up on Jesus’ denouncement of some of the Scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem at the time. What was so enticing that it could keep them from willingly gathering around Jesus?

Let’s look at verses 23:4-7, “4 For they tie together heavy packs that are impossible to carry. They put them on the shoulders of others, but are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5 Everything they do, they do to be noticed by others. They make extra-wide prayer bands for their arms and long tassels for their clothes. 6 They love to sit in places of honor at banquets and in the synagogues. 7 They love to be greeted with honor in the markets and to be addressed as ‘Rabbi.’

From what we can gather from Jesus’ words, these Scribes and Pharisees were more interested in being noticed than in being spiritual leaders. They were more concerned with controlling people than with having compassion on people. Their love of power and control kept them from gathering under Jesus’ Lordship.

During Lent, as we reflect on our relationship with God, what keeps us from gathering around Jesus together? The answer to that question might give us a clue as to what we need to be giving up in Lent.