“Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’” (Matthew 15:6-9, NIV)
Ouch! Jesus always spoke truth. Whether it was to a deceptive adulterous woman at a well or to the rule-following well dressed religious leaders in the temple. Yet his conversations were remarkably different. To the low-life sinner He was merciful. To the law-abiding religious He was relentless.
Last night in my Small Group, we answered the question, “What hard truths would Jesus say to you right now?” I had all participants take the time to journal their answers. The exercise was very revealing for me. Some of the same things Jesus said to the Pharisees were on my list:
“Your heart is far from me.”
“You worship me in vain.”
“Your teachings are but rules taught by men.”
Sitting in front of Jesus listening to Him speak truth to you isn’t easy. But knowing that He’s speaking with mercy, grace, love, and has my best interest in mind, makes it a little easier to swallow. Jesus wants nothing more than helping me become more like Him. And if that takes the “hard truth” then so be it. Now it’s up to me to learn from it.
God, You want me, not my rules and empty worship. You want me broken and honest at the well instead of mighty and righteous at the altar. You are all I need to make that change. In Jesus Name, Amen.