Matthew 5:20 – February 26, 2021

I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20 NABRE           

Jesus is teaching about the law, He has not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. While He wants His disciples to follow the law He believes they must pursue a much higher righteousness, one that surpasses the Pharisees and scribes (the religious leaders of the day.) In terms of external obedience the scribes and Pharoses are known as model followers of the Torah. But Jesus wants a radical interior obedience to God, to be self-giving to others, with an attitude of love for all God’s creation. By living an interior sacredness the law will be followed. The law exists to move us toward a place that we are prepared to be open to receive God, the expectation being if we follow the law our hearts will be penetrated by God’s love. The standard of righteousness by the disciples must go beyond that of the religious leaders of the day. Jesus calls His followers to a whole hearted trust and obedience toward the heavenly Father and by doing so radiate love to the whole world. 

As followers of Jesus we are sometimes shocked to see our leaders flawed, we have seen leaders and priests fall to scandals. Recently we hear of the personal flaws of Ravi Zacharias, a pastor we thought was bigger than life. It is sad when someone we respect and follow leads a private life not in line with their public persona. But, I suspect Jesus was aware these things would occur. Jesus desires we live an internal righteousness, pointing always to God. Don’t be disappointed by the church because of human flaws, know that it is Jesus who we follow and God’s love we wish to personify. 

Are you more righteous than your pastor? Do you respect church leadership?

Don't be disappointed by the church because of human flaws, know that it is Jesus who we follow and God's love we wish to personify. Share on X

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