There is an old adage Do as I say, not as I do. This is one of the attitudes about which Jesus was always arguing with the Pharisees and the scribes. They lived one way and asked others to live and do things they refused to do themselves. Jesus is making clear to those same folks today that although he appeared to be a radical change agent, what he was doing was living into God's laws, fulfilling God's laws. From the point of view of the power brokers of that time and place, Jesus was looked at as changing everything, when in fact he was just doing what they were supposed to have been doing all along. We're early on in the Gospel of Matthew, the really big changes come later on in the story.
Jesus says today that whoever does them (lives out the commandments) and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Do and teach Jesus is instructing us. Live into what Jesus teaches and than teach those precepts to others: spread the word by deed, action and teaching. It is easy to fall into habits that allow the old adage of telling people what to do and not do those same things ourselves become part of our daily routine.
Thoughtfully (and prayerfully) altering how we walk through this world is one of the take-aways from today's Gospel selection.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Art: Wet Feet (in progress), 2010, jfd+