Jesus’ warnings to religious leaders: Stop pretending to be close to God

“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.” (Matthew 23 v 16-22)

The 3rd warning to the leaders was about their ridiculous petty-games of swearing on oath and what they are bound to or not. Promises by the temple or the altar are not binding but if they promised on the gold of the temple or the gift on the altar they were bound to the oath.

Leaders can preach and boast how they may be in an accountability group. The box is ticked. They have an external form of accountability so they can be trusted. Yet their approach to that group could be artificial and they may never tell the truth to one another. So what good is it? It is an external form of accountability.

The lesson is this: stop pretending.

Focusing on details like the gold of the temple and the offering on the altar but missing the fact it is the Temple and the altar that makes them sacred is blinded.

Focusing on details like ‘look how accountable I am’ but not engaging in accountable conversations is useless.

I knew someone who would focus on finding one detail to prove his argument but missed the whole point of the argument.

You may have a detail but it can act as a pretence to the truth.

Stop pretending is the lesson.

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