At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus proclaimed 7 blessings on the righteous in Matthew 5:3-10. Many of you are familiar with this scripture. It has been called “The Sermon on the Mount” or “The Beatitude,” and it is probably the most loved section of the Bible. In His sermon, He spelled it out for those who would listen. He told what the character of the Kingdom was all about. He explains the guidelines for an ethical and righteous life.
Interestingly, we hear a great deal about the blessings but not so much about the woes. At the end of Matthew and toward the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and teachers of religious law and describes their actions stating “Woe to you…” By their hypocrisy, these self-righteous individuals are keeping people out of the Kingdom of God; are condemned; and are described by Christ as the children of Hell. What did He accuse them of doing?
Surprisingly, many of us may at times do the same things.
- “They do not practice what they preach”
- “Everything they do is done for men to see”
- “They love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues“
- “They love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.”
- “They clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence”
- “They are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”
- “They travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”
Do any of these statements hit close to home for any of you?
Jesus is the antithesis of entitlement. He came to earth as a humbled servant – a giver, a doer, a sacrificial lamb, a savior. When He declared the “Seven Woes,” He was angry. He had dealt with these types of people long enough and He needed for them to know just what was in store for them.
One of the most important aspects about being a disciple of Jesus Christ is knowing how we should act but even more how we shouldn’t act.
- It is important we never do anything to keep people from God
- We must never act selfishly and take advantage of other people
- Our influence on others should not mislead them
- We should not focus on worldly things and greedily seek more.
- Our actions should be pure and not focused on personal gratification
- Do not oppose those who are trying to live righteously
- The words that come from our mouths must align with our actions
Today, look at what you do. Would Jesus have spoken to you as He spoke to the Pharisees? If so, ask Him to help you live the way He wants you to live and act the way He wants you to act.