Whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. —Matthew 23:3
A woman in Oregon was caught driving 103 miles per hour with her 10-year-old grandson in the car. When she was stopped by the police, she told them that she was only trying to teach him never to drive that fast. I suppose she wanted him to do as she said, not as she did.
The Pharisees and teachers of the law seemed to have a similar problem. Jesus had a scathing assessment of them: They were spiritually bankrupt. He held these two groups directly responsible for this sad spiritual condition. As the successors of the lawgiver Moses, they were responsible for expounding the law so that people would walk in God’s ways and have a genuine and vibrant relationship with the Lord (Deut. 10:12-13). But their personal interpretation and application of the law became more important than God’s law. They did not practice what they preached. What they did observe was done not to bring glory to God but to honor themselves. Jesus exposed who they were—image managers, posers, and hypocrites.
The test of the effectiveness of following Jesus is not just in what we say but in how we live. Are we telling others God’s Word and doing what it says? Let’s model by words and actions what it means to follow Him.
A good example preaches a powerful sermon.