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Grace Moments Devotions - June 22, 2016

June 22

Who, Me? A Pharisee?

There used to be a yeast company in my town. Its pungent, musky smell wafted over the near west side on production days. Yeast’s ability to reproduce rapidly makes it an indispensable ingredient to beer and bread. God chose to use this wonderful substance as a metaphor for sin—something that metastasized quietly and dangerously. At Passover time the Jewish housewives were to get rid of every trace of yeast in their kitchens and eat only unleavened bread.

Jesus warned his disciples, and he warns you and me, with a similar word picture: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees” (Matthew 16:6). Huh? Who, me? A Pharisee? You’re kidding, Jesus. Pharisees are other people. Them, not me.

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for imagining that they were good enough for God as is, that they didn’t need a Savior, that their wealth proved God’s favor, that they were superior to the “sinners.” He condemns those attitudes in us as well. The legalistic and loveless spirit of the Pharisees is alive and well in the world today, and it must not be allowed to live in our hearts and minds.

It must not live in our congregations either.

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