Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Marsha's Musings:Jesus' Indictment of the Pharisees

I've been reading in Luke some of the time lately and came across this verse:

Lu 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

I was puzzled about the word judgment, thinking it meant that the Pharisees were not exercising judgment.  So then I thought maybe it meant discernment.  After a lot of research I finally found the answer.  If you read the verse literally as it is in the Greek, there is one little word that the translators left out.  The word "the".  Young's Literal Translation says, 

But woe to you, the Pharisees, because ye tithe the mint, and the rue, and every herb, and ye pass by the judgment, and the love of God; these things it behoveth to do, and those not to be neglecting.

It refers to God's judgment (the judgment of God) and the love of God.  It's all one connected phrase referring to God.  The Pharisees failed to take into account God's judgment on their actions and hypocrisy.  Binding those under their authority with rules and commandments beyond what God had commanded, they were passing by the love of God in treating people wrongly.

I wonder how many churches there are today where the leaders fall into this category.  They take lightly the judgment of God.  There is no fear of God in their hearts. They bind their congregations with many extra rules and commands than what God has laid out in His Holy Word and threaten them with consequences or make them feel inferior if they do not follow them to the letter. In effect, they are passing over judgment and the love of God in how they treat their congregations.  This is very sad, but I have seen it many times. 

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