Walk the Talk

November 5, 2023
Walk the Talk

Scripture Reading: Matthew 23: 1 - 12 (NIV)

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.3So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.4They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

5  “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries  wide and the tassels on their garments long;6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;7they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

8  “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.11The greatest among you will be your servant.12For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.


Message:  Walk the Talk

Moses’ seat - the symbol of power

Have you ever wondered why the Jewish leader were so upset with Jesus that they would become part of the process of his execution?

They hated Him, because He called them out

Jesus flat out called people not to accept the type of leadership they were providing

They accused Jesus of being disrespectful of their institutions

They held positions that Jesus did not respect (seat of Moses was an important position - it is like the word “chairperson” today)

Why?  Because of the lack of integrity.

Moses’ seat lost its appeal to Jesus because of those sitting in the seat not acting the part

In effect Jesus just told them:  “don’t listen to them - they are fake!”

No one likes to be called out like that!

Game of Optics 

Jesus points to their Phylacteries - a small leather box containing Hebrew texts on small scrolls, worn by Jewish men at morning prayer as a reminder to keep the law

What was meant to be a reminder of scripture in your life, became as symbol of status

It shows how power can corrupt - how things can go to your head

The same with titles - Jesus warns against titles

Jesus says to drop titles because they mean nothing - it’s just optics

That is why I cringe at being called “reverend” or “doctor”, or wearing a collar 

Family does not have titles - my does not call me reverend! (Or when she calls me that I am really in trouble!)

Jesus gives the model of real leadership - service

If ever there is something that others need to see in me, it is how I serve

What I say becomes trustworthy when I serve  

(The very thing politicians struggle with so much today)

Walk the talk

This story about Jesus and the religious people brings me to introspection

Am I willing to get real in my faith?

Am I willing to let go of all the optics?

Am I willing to put into practice what I say I am?

When I say I believe, can others see the faith in my life or is it just nice words?

When I say I trust in God, am I willing to go where He calls me to go?

When I say that I am grateful for what God has done for me, am I willing to give without reservation?

When I say that I accept that I am forgiven, am I willing to let go and forgive?

When I say that God loves me unconditionally, am I willing to love without saying “but”?

When I say that I am following in Jesus’ footsteps, am I willing to show up and be counted?

Jesus says: don’t get into all the flashy stuff that sounds nice, get down and get your hands dirty

Live with a faith of integrity - do what you say you believe

Walk the talk!


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