CHECK THIS OUT! Sometimes it may seem like we live in one of the most narcissistic times in history. Everything revolves around the right clothes, the right car, the right curated image on our facebook posts and dozens of perfectly framed selfies posted to Insta and Snapchat. But as sad as this reality we find ourselves living in is, it is not unique to history. Although on the surface we have very little in common with the Pharisees as far as our lifestyles, v5 indicates that all people are cut from the same cloth: "Everything they [we] do is done for people to see..." This self-centeredness clearly does not please our creator.
WHOA, THERE: We've all had moments of weakness where we've lashed out at somebody who stepped on our toes a little too much, whether it was a co-worker or some stranger who cut us off on the road. Although we may have said some awful things, one of those awful things probably was not "Woe to you..." That particular insult doesn't seem to pack much punch in our world. But the way Jesus uses this word in this particular context, it's almost as if He's saying 'To hell with you...' This, of course, is not one of those things we should replicate in which we strive to model Christ in our lives. Jesus says this in a non-sinful way, whereas if we were to say the same thing it would almost always be sinful. Jesus is fully God, and only He has the authority and the justification to say such an awful thing. But this phrase definitely shows how much God hates hypocrisy. Eugene Peterson's paraphrase The Message does an excellent job with this passage.
OPEN YOUR EYES: Look how often Jesus refers to the Pharisees as being blind. What do you need to open your eyes to in your life that you've been blind to?
MISERTUDES: Compare and contrast this passage with the Beatitudes, in which the word 'blessed' means exactly the opposite of the word 'woe.'
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: You have one Father, and He is in heaven (v9).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, yet those who humble themselves [by doing God's will] will be exalted (v12).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: