This morning I read Matthew 22 and 23. In these chapters Jesus had a very heated confrontation with the first century religious leaders of Jerusalem. What got me was what Jesus said in Matthew 23:30:
"And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'"
You see, the first century teachers did not view themselves with the harsh criticism that Jesus and the writers of The New Testament did. They thought highly of themselves. They did not realize that they were making the same mistakes their ancestors made.
Are we making the same mistakes?
Those of us who teach the Bible today need to be very careful not to copy our first century counterparts. The first century teachers pushed very hard to do good things. They told others to do them too. Jesus even said that what they taught should be listened to. In Matthew 23:1-2 Jesus said, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you." But Jesus didn't stop there, "But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy cumbersome loads and put them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."
How easy it is to tell someone the right thing to do. How difficult it is to do it ourselves. What good is a teacher if he tells people to not lie, gossip, or slander; to love our neighbors and do good to those who do evil to us? If the teacher does not follow his own teaching he is worse than useless? Make no mistake my fellow teachers, we will be seen for what we are. Let's not strain out others' gnats but swallow camels ourselves. Let's not make the same mistakes our first century counterparts made. Let's practice what we preach.