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Showing posts from August, 2012

Jesus Doesn't Like Self Righteousness

Matthew 7:1-5 is a difficult passage to swallow. The message is simple: don’t judge or you will be judged – and if you do judge, you will be judged by the same standard. Self-righteousness is the thing that allows us to get on our high horse and judge others; and I think self-righteousness can take two very distinct, very opposite forms.

#1: “I have never been overwhelmed by sin so I am more deserving of grace than all of those sinners”
It’s easy for us to conclude that for one reason or another we deserve grace more than other people. So, we develop a Jonah complex – God tells us to go to the people who are enveloped in sin that He might restore them but we refuse because we don’t think they deserve it. In Ephesians 2, Paul says that we were all once dead in our sins but God, who is rich in love, made us alive in Christ – not because of any good that we had done but because of his graceful heart. You might be familiar with this “dead-alive” terminology, and if you are it probably d…

Who is my neighbor?

One day as Jesus is teaching, an “expert in the law” asks Jesus what He should do to get eternal life. That’s the same question most of us have. So Jesus gives a simple answer: love God with your full self and love your neighbor as yourself. The man quickly replies, “And who is my neighbor?”
So Jesus tells a story:

A man traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho is robbed, stripped, and left for dead on the side of the road. It was a steep road – it descended 3000+ feet over the short distance of 17 miles. It was known as a really dangerous road because its winding pattern allowed thieves to easily hide out and jump unsuspecting travelers. It was so infamous that it was sometimes referred to as the "Way of Blood". Anyway, Jesus’ listeners knew the road well.

So, a priest that happens to be passing by sees the man lying on the side of the road and doesn’t stop. In Jesus' culture, touching a dead body made you ‘unclean’ and priests were especially careful about remai…