Drenched in Love

MARCH 12

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

The Greek translation for the word righteousness used here is, whatever is right and just within itself; whatever conforms to the revealed will of God.

If the Scribes and Pharisees couldn’t recognize Jesus as an extension of God then according to the above translation, their righteousness failed coming out of the gate! 

Jesus was certainly just and conformed to God’s will – He was the very revelation of it. No one can recognize Jesus without recognizing His heart of love. The person who comes to Jesus with a willing and repentant heart, or the one who comes to Him kicking and screaming with a rebellious heart, end up the same way – drenched in love. 

The love of Jesus is overpowering. It is life changing. It is heart healing. No force in this life is stronger. Any righteousness we have comes from the love of Jesus. When the Scribes and Pharisees’ saw Jesus’ miracles, they not only didn’t recognize Him, they said He was demonically possessed!

No wonder Jesus says our righteousness should exceed that! 

PRAYER

Jesus Savior, I want to conform to Your will. I want Your will in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is God’s will covered in flesh—I want His will in my life!

One and the Same

MARCH 11

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

It is easy enough to get to know the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees – simply read their encounters with Jesus. If anyone on the planet should have known who Jesus was – it was they. 

The Scribes and Pharisees knew all the prophesies in the Scriptures. They knew there was to be the coming of a Messiah. They knew all the details, but because they studied with their head and not their heart, they didn’t recognize the Messiah when they met Him face to face! They needed wisdom, understanding, and the right kind of knowledge for that, and they hadn’t gained any – not a smidgen. 

The ultimate way to have recognized Jesus was by His love. First, they had to be able to know the love of God. If they spent a lifetime studying the Law, but not been in touch with God enough to know His love, they missed the whole point.

Jesus said they should have recognized Him by His miracles. His miracles were instigated by love, so love and Jesus’ miracles were actually one and the same.

PRAYER

Loving Jesus, Help me recognize the miracle of love You work in my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ’s miracles are love—He will work them in me!

The Right Track

MARCH 10

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus is love – true, genuine, unconditional love from head to toe. He is the purest form of mercy. He is grace at its greatest. If Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, then the purpose of the Law must be love, mercy, and grace.

Make the Bible your best friend. The wisdom from it is far beyond awesome. If you don’t spend time with your best friends – they won’t be your best friends for very long. The more time you spend in the Bible, the more you gain understanding of wisdom.

The Scribes and Pharisees spent a lot of time studying the Law, but they failed to gain wisdom and understanding. Why? The heart. If your time in the Bible results in knowledge which lets you appear better than your friends, your righteousness will never exceed that of the Scribes or Pharisees.

If your Bible time results in your heart breaking from your own sin, and the cruelties of the world, and you want to do something to make the world a better place – you’re on the right track!

 PRAYER

God of Mercy, Please help me learn the Bible with my heart, not my head. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the heart of the Law—He wants it in my heart!                                    

How Is That Possible?

MARCH 9

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus asks us to compare our righteousness to that of the Scribes and Pharisees. If we’d been trained and educated in the Law to the degree they had, we’d be one of them.

Look closer. Jesus does not want just a comparison. He wants our righteousness to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees! What? How can an average Sunday school, church-goer have more righteousness than the educated, religious power-people? 

Can it be that Jesus is not impressed with the Scribes and Pharisees’ righteousness? How is that possible? They were all about the Law, and Jesus just finished teaching the importance of the Law. He taught He did not come to earth to destroy the Law.

Also, He had just taught that to break even the least commandment carries with it a heavy consequence – to be least in the kingdom of heaven! So, why does Jesus not stand in awe of the ones who spend their time teaching and observing it?

Hmm …

PRAYER

Holy God, I want my righteousness to be more than knowledge. Please teach me how to live it. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ lives righteousness—He wants me to do that too!

The Good Guys, Right?

MARCH 8

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees…

Scribes interpreted the Law and copied it into writings. If anyone knew the laws – from the greatest precept to the least – it was the Scribes. They were not politicians, but did possess great power and expected respect from their students in the synagogues. Because of their knowledge, they would most likely be the first to cringe if a jot or a tittle of the Law were violated.

The Pharisees, also learned in the Law, took more of a legal approach to the keeping of it. They were strong segregationists. They wanted no part of non-Jewish mixing.

These two sects were the primary religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Religious leaders are supposed to be the good guys, right?  If you can’t depend upon them to lead in the right direction, who can you depend on?

There were some among the Pharisees who listened to and developed a heart for Jesus. But oh my goodness, what a sad place to be if you went to most of them for love, joy, or peace. They followed the letter of the Law rather than the spirit.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, I want to live in the spirit of Your Law. Please show me when I am living more in the letter than the spirit.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is true righteousness—He will help me gain that!