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"Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you frauds!" —Matthew 23:13, 15
Jesus called the religious leaders of His day "frauds," "blind guides" (Mt 23:16), and "blind fools" (Mt 23:17), among other things. Jesus did not say these things in sinful anger. He was simply being forthright in correcting the scribes and Pharisees.
Jesus continues to deal forthrightly with religious leaders. He knows they must render an account to Him for the people they are responsible to lead (Heb 13:17). They need our help desperately. God's word tells us what we should do for our leaders:
- RESPECT — "Respect those among you whose task it is to exercise authority in the Lord" (1 Thes 5:12).
- OBEY — "Obey your leaders and submit to them" (Heb 13:17), as long as they do not command anything contrary to God's law (Acts 4:19), and even when they don't practice what they preach (Mt 23:3).
- INTERCEDE — "I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority" (1 Tm 2:1-2).
- LOVE — "Love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pt 4:8). Loving our leaders includes forgiving them.
Some religious leaders are in imminent danger of eternal damnation. You can help them at this most critical time of their lives.
Prayer: Father, may those who have preached to others not be lost themselves (1 Cor 9:27).
Promise: "The gospel proved not a mere matter of words for you but one of power." —1 Thes 1:5
Praise: Mary endured sufferings to the end, following Jesus to the cross. Because of this, she now reigns with Him as Queen of Heaven (see 2 Tm 2:12).
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2005
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