Our scripture this week is Matthew 23:1-12.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father–the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Jesus teaches us to be conscious of our behavior and its effect on others. When we act wrongly, two bad outcomes are possible. Those observing may think our actions are acceptable, or they may think “if this is how Christians act I want no part of it”.

Like it or not, we are being watched as followers of Jesus. Others form opinions about Christianity based on us. If they see our actions don’t match our words, we have failed as the Pharisees do in this lesson.

Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). There is a cost to being a disciple and the world is watching. We know the Lord will be with us when we accept His forgiveness and share His love with everyone.

Gracious God, we are grateful for Your love and mercy. Help us to be living examples of the lessons Jesus taught, obeying Your will and sharing the Good News with the world.

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