In Matthew 23 Jesus warns the crowds and disciples about the scribes and Pharisees. He warns them that they seek after positions, prestige and power. Jesus summarizes the pride of the Pharisees in verse 12 when He says, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” A heart seeking Self-exaltation will lead to humiliation and ultimate condemnation. Jesus also gives multiple woes to the scribes and Pharisees calling them hypocrites. They are all about what looks good on the outside and keeping a good front. Jesus sums up the scribes and Pharisees in verse 27 when He says, “For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness.” It is all about the heart and what is on the inside that matters. When the heart is dead, the outward actions of a person are meaningless. When the heart is right, the right actions, attitudes and speech will follow. The Gospel promises a new heart that gives us the power and desire to honor the LORD. What we do is not who we are, but who we are has a tremendous impact on what we do. LORD, by Your grace, empower me to warn people of those who exalt themselves and make the outside the issue. Help me faithfully proclaim the Gospel of Grace that gives a new heart and makes people sons and daughters of You.
– Bryan McKenzie