This past Sunday our topic around the circle was curses.
Curses can be found aplenty in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 23. Yep, that’s right. Curses are found in the Bible, along with a lot of other things you might not know are there. Again and again in that text Jesus speaks the fateful words, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites…you blind guides…you snakes…you vipers!!!!”
Why would Jesus speak curses over the religious leaders of his time?
My guess: because this story records Jesus’ last week of life on earth.
Soon, Jesus would be gone, and when he was, these men would no more see him or hear from him until and unless they proclaimed Him blessed and asked Him to complete FOR THEM the saving of their souls. This is the Messiah’s last chance to tell them what they need to know. His last chance to save some. His last chance this side of redemption to gather them in. He needed to be emphatic for their sake, because this was THEIR last chance.
He says as much in vs 34: I tell you , you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”
During the Lenten season, I’m wont to reflect upon my own Pharisaic ways…my blind spots…my willful pride…the minutia of my life that feeds that part of me that craves the law but neglects love.
What I assume is that Jesus could have said some of these same things to me.
What I KNOW is that without Jesus, I would be straining gnats while swallowing camels and choking myself in the process. Cuz, yeah, let’s face it–I likes me a bit o camel stew every now and then.
That’s why Jesus is so important in my life.
On my own, I’m a stubborn, blind, vipe-ish and reckless Pharisee.
With Jesus, I’m still a Pharisee some days, but I’m also covered in crimson grace.
Do you see a bit of the Pharisees in you today? What are you craving as you move closer to Easter Sunday?