While Joseph is making everything right again in our OT text, Jesus is pointing out just how wrong things have gotten with the Pharisees in our NT text. With such ringing accusations as, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand,” and “a tree is recognized by its fruit,” and “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here,” Jesus thoroughly proclaims the downfall that has befallen the Pharisees.
Theirs is a house divided, which proclaims a righteousness separate from God’s. Theirs is a fruit that belies a rotten tree. Theirs is a refusal to repent, making them less righteous even than the men of Nineveh, a historically corrupt city. And why? Because their driving force is Law rather than Relationship, rules instead of people. These are the only people Jesus openly proclaims as His enemies in his entire ministry, not sinners, not traitors, not prostitutes, not blue collar or white collar workers, not children…
We in the organized church have got to be extremely careful not to slip into the same trap the Pharisees did. We desperately want to please and honor our Lord, but doing so at the expense of another person is exactly the warning here. People MUST come first and the rules second. If we can love those around us with the love of Jesus Christ, a love that accepts, walks with, teaches, sacrifices for, and never condemns, then we will stand united with God, we will bear His kind of fruit, and we will know the fruit of repentance.
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