Wednesday, November 16
Matthew 22:41-46 NASB
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?”
They said to Him, “The son of David.”
He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies beneath your feet”’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?”
No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.
Matthew 23:1-12 MSG
Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.
“Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’
“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”
We are as mature as we are mature in love, and no more mature. We may be mature in knowledge, but if we are not mature in love, we are immature human beings. We may be mature in religious practices and outlook, but if we are immature in love we are immature. Our maturity is maturity in love, or it is immaturity. This is the central and consistent message of the New Testament. Its message is consistent from Jesus, through Paul, through Peter, through John. The finality of love as the highest characteristic of character is the same through all four of these. There is no wavering, no equivocation, no hesitation—love is central in God and must be central in man. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that can take its place. Lack love and you lack maturity, no matter what else you may have beside. Nothing can atone for that lack.
E. Stanley Jones, Christian Maturity.