Thursday, June 14: Nor will you let those enter who are trying to
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 23:13-14
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."
Woe, dude! We enter a section of Jesus' teaching where he pronounces seven woes—angry laments of criticism—on the teachers of the law and Pharisees of his time, who were very likely not in attendance, and we'll look at one woe per day. In the first, he tells how these respected leaders actually try to keep people out of the kingdom of heaven, an idea he'll expand on as we go.
We'd love to see all of our closest family and friends following Jesus, in one form or another, into his kingdom of heaven. But is there anything in your own life that might make you like a mini-Pharisee in their minds, perhaps discouraging their trip down the path of Jesus? If so, Jesus says that correcting it and opening the door, rather than closing it in their faces, is of utmost urgency.