The Great Paradox

**... they do not practice what they preach** (Matthew 23:3).

Matthew 23:3
Malachi 1:14-2:2,8-10; Psalms 131:1-3; I Thessalonians 2:7-9,13; Matthew 23:1-12

Sermon Topic


In a “Peanuts” cartoon strip, Little Lucy, who is known to be ever-ready with unsolicited advice, is playing right-field in a baseball game. Charlie Brown is pitching. “Let’s win one for a change Charlie Brown,” Lucy cries out. Charlie Brown then throws his first pitch and the batter hits the ball to right-field. But Lucy makes no attempt to catch it. She just stands there and does nothing. Charlie Brown yells out at her, “If you’re so interested in winning, why didn’t you try to catch the ball?” To which a defiant Lucy replies, “My role is strictly advisory.”

The Scribes and the Pharisees, whom Jesus castigates in today’s Gospel Lesson, seem to be in that kind of “Little Lucy” mode. They’re ever-ready to act in an advisory capacity. They’re ever-ready to preach and teach the law of God about right-living, as they understand it. And yet, Jesus warns His disciples …

“You must do what they tell you and listen to what they say,…

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