Jesus' Life and Teaching: Jesus Challenges the Status Quo
Christopher D. Hudson
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Time and again during his three-year ministry, Jesus confronts the prevailing religious system. At times his critiques of first-century Judaism’s empty ritualism are mere verbal barbs. On other occasions, there are heated discussions. The callous and hypocritical actions of some scribes and Pharisees anger Jesus. He sternly pronounces “woes” on these leaders, calling them hypocrites, fools, and blind guides. He even enters the part of the temple they’ve turned into a moneymaking market, overturns their tables, and drives them out! We see the leaders’ curiosity turn to concern and then morph into a calculated plan to kill Jesus.