Today we’re reading the 21st chapter of Matthew together. Here are a couple thoughts:
- At the beginning of this chapter we read about Jesus being treated like a rock star by the people as he entered the city of Jerusalem, well like a rock star riding a donkey at least. Then Jesus went into the temple and threw out the people employed to extort money from people trying to connect with God. Then many sick people came to the temple and Jesus healed them.
- The next day Jesus spoke to a fig tree and it withered up. His disciples were shocked but Jesus used this to teach them to have faith. Jesus said if we have faith we can ask God for whatever we want and it will be done. This isn’t some magic formula to get our way with God. Jesus is showing how having a real relationship with God, like he did, connects you to him and his power. God isn’t some cosmic gum ball machine where we can put enough “prayer quarters” in and we will eventually get what we want. It always has and always will be about a relationship with him.
- Later we read about the religious leaders confronting Jesus and asking where he gets the authority to do the things he’s doing. Jesus replied with a question that shut them up but then he gave them a couple parables.
- In the parables Jesus told the religious leaders that people they had considered “unpresentable” to God would get into God’s kingdom before they would because these people had faith. Next, Jesus told the religious leaders that they rejected everyone God had sent to tell them to have a relationship with him, even his son Jesus, and therefore God would take away what they had been given and give it to people who actually lived out their faith. See, the religious leaders knew the right things to do and had been taught how to connect with God. However, for them it had become more important that others think they were right with God than really connecting with God at all. This is why the religious leaders focused so much on what they did in front of people.
How about you? Do you have a relationship with Jesus? Not an intellectual understanding of who Jesus is but a real relationship with him where you do life together. Are you more concerned with how other people perceive you than you are with really connecting with God? It’s easy for us to scoff at the religious leaders Jesus confronted in the Bible but the reality is that we can quickly become just like them today. God wants a relationship with you; not some mindless, heartless following of a few rules to appear moral. Take a serious look at where you are with God right now. Ask God to keep you heart soft to how connected you are to him.