When the Lord speaks, His people listen. When Jesus came to earth, He was the Word of God made flesh. During His ministry, it is noted several times that Jesus spoke “with authority.” Before Jesus Christ, the Jewish people listened to “rabbis” because they had authority. The Scribes and the Pharisees had learned the law of Moses and this entitled them to their high position.
Suddenly, a carpenter’s son arrives on the scene and speaks with the same authority, but instead of agreeing with the rabbis, He rebukes them. “Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice” (Matthew 23:3). Jesus was speaking the Lord’s words and consequently, people listened.
It must have been truly difficult for Jesus’ audience to accept Him. People still had no idea who He really was. Nevertheless, people gave up everything to follow Him because they recognized the truth. Today, we know who Jesus is and that the words He spoke are truth. However, the temptation not to listen remains.
This might be the greatest example of the power of sin. Through our faith, we cannot deny who Jesus is and what He is asking us to do, yet we continue to stray. We may not have Pharisees and Scribes to whom we could listen, but we have political figures, celebrities, and social media. “All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi'” (Matthew 23:5-7). Just as the people of Jesus’ time were influenced by the Pharisees, people today are drawn to the false glamour of this world promoted by other leaders.
In this time of Lent, we are presented with an opportunity to repent and listen to the word of God once again. The act of humbling ourselves and remembering who our Father is and what He has done for us may not be easy, but the rewards of taking advantage of this opportunity are great, so great that we cannot even begin to imagine the rewards that await us in Heaven.