Here’s the deal.

God made the world, and then we said, “We’ll take it from here!”

Things got bad.

Shockingly, God didn’t give us the silent treatment. He mercifully gave us His Word!

So we decided to become scholars of God’s Word. Not so much practitioners, but definitely scholars. We accumulated religious information, and we debated doctrine; and we grew fat with knowledge. And we became puffed up. We were gluttons for sounding smart. We became like whales! Indeed we had GROWN! But the growth was blubber!

So God came to us like an octopus attacking a whale. He invaded our blubberous self-righteousness, and splashed us afresh with His ink (mercifully assailing us with wave after wave of ‘IT IS WRITTEN’/Γέγραπται).

God said, “You preach, but do not practice. You tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but you yourselves are not willing lift a finger to bear such burdens. You do all your deeds to be seen by others. You’re obsessed with status. You love places of honor at feasts, and the best seats at social events, and greetings in the marketplaces. Have you not read what I wrote to you, “The greatest among you is the person who makes themselves the slave of all. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

God said, “Woe to you hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”

“Woe to you hypocrites! For you attend church and tithe, but you have neglected the weightier matters of justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (i.e. no wonder you’re so blubbery! You eat a camel-a-day, and you’ll hit whale weight in no time!).

“Woe to you hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind blubberous fools! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”

“Woe to you hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

“Woe to you hypocrites! You venerate ‘the great theologians’ but you fail to recognize that the emphasis has NEVER been on academics! (e.g. the apostles were uneducated fishermen, zealots, and tax-collectors!). You build Bible libraries full of commentaries and Christian books, and attend religious conferences, and build big ‘church’ campuses, and establish “Christian” schools …and in all these places you hang plaques with quotations from the prophet Isaiah that read, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”

But I tell you, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!”


Bottom line… when I was reading Matthew 23 and Mark 7 this week, I thought to myself, “The incarnation is like an invasion! He’s like an octopus attacking a whale …reproaching blubber and emphatically emitting ink! Shockingly, when Immanuel comes He does not attack the riffraff of the world, but instead we see Him befriending all manner of misfits! He does however attack the blubberous religious institution curated by the Pharisees and scribes. He is quite aggressive and persistent in asking them, “Have you not read the Bible?”, after which He always emits the INK of the IT IS WRITTEN’/Γέγραπται.