Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger."
On Sunday, we talked about how the idea of control shapes our identity. Where we look to find control teaches a lot about the state of our soul. In Scripture, we see this time and again through the lives of the Pharisees. They were the most pious and respected leaders of their day. These teachers believed that if they could just control their own lives well enough, they would earn their own righteousness. However, this hurt them and the people whom they led
Jesus began His scathing rebuke of the Pharisees by pointing out that these men positioned themselves in the seat of Moses. People looked to them for authority on religious teachings the same way Jews in the past would have looked to Moses. The interesting part of this statement in Matthew’s Gospel is that Jesus was considered the new and better Moses. Jesus led His people to truth, but His methods were quite different than the Pharisees’.
In their efforts to control religious laws, the Pharisees set standards so high that no one could possibly reach them. They tied up “heavy burdens” upon people that were too heavy for them to bear. In contrast, Jesus invited all who were burdened to come to Him and find rest (Matt. 11:28-30). Trying to control and work within the rules will never lead to blessing or happiness
- Where are you trying to control the situations around you for your benefit?
- How does trying to find control impede on your relationship with God?
- Pray that you would look to Jesus instead of the righteousness of your own making.