Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:23-24

This is our seventeenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will look at how the Pharisees tithed.

Matthew 23:23-24

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Observations

It is a little puzzling to me why the Pharisees concentrated on the little things as the spices but neglected the larger and spiritual things. But here are my ideas. Maybe they thought people would be impressed with them, that they were so diligent in giving a tenth of their spices; or maybe it was all they knew how to do; they were just doing things as they were taught. As for neglecting the larger things of justice, mercy and faith, I suggest that it was because they were unconverted and they did not understand those spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).

Application

We should regard first the things of the Spirit and His kingdom. First give your life totally to Him and then He will direct you in what else to do. Never do things to impress people, but only to obey God in love.

Why Are People Talking About White Privilege?

I keep hearing the term “white privilege.” I think some people may be suggesting that rich white people need to do more to help the poor black people, or even to somehow make it so that no one is poor anymore. I don’t think that is possible. Even Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you…” (Mark 14:7). I’m sure Jesus didn’t like that people were poor. He just knew that because of sin in the world, there would always be poor people—and also rich people.

But if I am reading what people are saying, they are suggesting that governments can do something about the poor. Well, many governments have been trying to relieve the poor for many centuries, but have always failed. It doesn’t work. That government system is called Socialism or even Communism. It is what they tried in Venezuela, but you see what happened there. That country use to be a rich country. Sure, there were the poor there, but now everyone is poor—except a few at the top who are very rich.

I think we ought to just accept the fact that there are poor people, and rich people, and people in between. Sure, it is up to each of us to help whoever you see that needs help. But please don’t put it on the government. I think the best people can do to help the poor is not only to give to them, but help them to know how they can help themselves. Encourage them and pray for them and be a friend to them.

Please, we need to stop talking bad about rich people. They are not all bad. Many of them worked very hard to get to where they are. Some I know are crooked, but many are good and are great givers. We ought not to think that they should just give all of their money away to help the poor—so as to even things out, or make things fair. We ought to except things as they are. To be content. Whether we are rich or poor, to be content. And don’t think that being rich is all happiness and being poor is all sadness. Many rich people are very sad and many poor are very happy. True happiness has nothing to do with money, but everything to do with our relationship with God in Jesus. He gives us true happiness in Him.