Practicing what God preaches

By Leonard Lauriault

Read the 23rd chapter of Matthew. Wasn’t that about the most uplifting passage in the New Testament (sarcastically speaking)? Jesus acted like an Old Testament prophet, chastising Israel’s leadership (remember, Jesus lived and died under the Old Testament and the new covenant didn’t take effect until after he fulfilled the former with his resurrection).

While most of Matthew 23 was spoken to teachers and leaders, it applies also to Christians today because we all have a role in teaching others including the lost, at least by example. We must be very careful about that because our example is the proof of the faith we profess (teach).

Although Jesus’ indictment of Israel’s leaders was caustic, using seven warnings (woes) to get the same point across, his purpose was to build up rather than tear down. That also should be our purpose for which all scripture is useful (Ephesians 4: 29; 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17). So, what encouragement can we find in Matthew 23 that applies today?

First, Jesus told his other listeners to obey their leaders, but to not practice what they preach (Matthew 23: 1-4).