“Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?. . . whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?” (Matthew 23:17, 19)
The temple was the center of the Old Covenant. The Levite’s income and temple’s upkeep were derived from an elaborate system of tithes and other offerings defined in Leviticus.
By the time the Lord Jesus entered His ministry on Earth, the regulations God initiated had been turned into an intricate web of demands designed to coerce people to give. Jesus confronted the leaders and exposed their wickedness.
- Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
- Matthew 23:27: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
- Luke 11:43: “Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.”
- Luke 11:46: “Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”
This kind of hypocrite seeks his name in a bulletin, a plaque on a wall, a brick in a walkway, or a wing in a hospital or museum, and is indifferent to the quiet background work of ministry that embraces judgment, mercy, and faith. The Lord regards the condition of the heart far more than the deed. HMM III
From Days of Praise