Matthew 21:31-32; 43-46
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him……43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
OBSERVATION-What does it say?
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and chief priests in most of this chapter. Through His actions and parables, He exposed their love of money, their judgment of children, their lack of integrity, their lack of bearing fruit, their pride, their fear of what others think of them, and their poor treatment towards Himself.
UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?
Jesus is concerned with the heart, not the outward appearance.
Pharisees were very good at following the law. The Apostle Paul even spoke on his integrity towards keeping the law fully when he was Saul. However, what was missing in their lives were their hearts for Jesus. They refused to lose their lives to Him due to pride, fear of man and love for the world. As a result, none of the fruits of the Spirit were evident in their lives. They refused to repent (seek forgiveness and turn from their sin) and believe/have faith in Jesus. Instead, they chose to look down on everyone. Jesus said that the tax collectors and prostitutes would be entering the Kingdom ahead of them.
“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Jesus is our Savior, but He must also be our Lord and FIRST place in our lives.
Pastor Gary made a bold statement in one of his sermons. He basically said that he didn’t believe everyone in our church would be entering the Kingdom of heaven. Was that an unjust and cruel statement to make? Not at all because I completely agree and it’s based on Jesus’ words! Jesus said that not everyone who comes to Him saying, “Lord, Lord…” or claiming to do works in “His name” will enter the Kingdom, because He never knew them (See Matthew 7:21). They never had a true relationship with Him from their heart; the type of relationship that changes someone from the inside out; the type of relationship that bears fruit.
What are you holding on to that you are refusing to lose completely for the sake of Christ? What is taking God out of the first place throne of your life? Money/greed, anger, comfort, lust, fear of people, reputation, pride?
Let us be individuals who repents, has bold faith and bears abundant fruit for the sake of the Kingdom. It starts with us individually first in order to be contagious towards the whole church.
-Michelle Gaddi