Jesus Christ surprised and offended the religious leaders of his day when he failed to conform to commonly accepted religious rituals and practices.

In response Jesus pointed out that:

      • True spirituality does not consist in visible outward rituals, but in practical compassion.
      • The practice of giving God a tenth of one's income or produce is useless unless accompanied by genuine love for God and practical love for other human beings.
      • The love of recognition and significance may well hide inner emptiness and corruption.
      • The addition of more and more impossible laws does not promote true godliness either in the leaders themselves or in those they try to lead.
      • Focusing on external rituals and laws prevents people from truly knowing God.

By his words Jesus pointed out the dreadful condition of the religious leaders; at each point he began his exposure of their failures with the words 'Woe to you'.

Here is perhaps the greatest spiritual tragedy: when those who think they are pleasing God, actually displease him; when those who think they have spiritual significance, are actually void of true spirituality; when those who think they know God, actually do not know him at all.

In the presence of Jesus Christ and his exposure of the inability of ritual and law to produce true godliness, we all stand challenged and accused. Here Christ calls us away from a perceived spirituality based on our own religious actions to a real spirituality generated by knowing him.

Scripture: Luke 11:38-54.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2004, 2009.