FLY IN THE WINE!

Dale A. Arnold

FLY IN THE WINE!
Monday, July 04, 2016

"You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." This was the charge Jesus made of the religious leaders of his day. But what did he mean by it? First off let's not make the mistake that so many make and ignore the context in which this was said. The verses before and after gives it more gravitas . Matthew 23:23 23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You pay tithes of mint, dill, and cummin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former". This gnat Jesus speaks of was the smallest of unclean animals in the old testament Lev.11:23 23 "But all other winged insects which are four-footed are detestable to you." And the camel was one of the largest of the unclean animals. Lev. 11:4  Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these, among those which chew the cud, or among those which divide the hoof: the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you. Awww now we see where Jesus is going with this! The gnat is unclean as well as the camel. But they would have a fit if the gnat was in their drink and would strain it out. And yet they  ignored the greater unclean thing and would "swallow it." This is just like many of my fellow Christians today. They are so busy looking in peoples bedrooms and fretting about the language people use, acting like the moral majority, all the while they ignore the bigger things God is grieved at. Justice, Mercy and faithfulness!  There is another place in scripture where Jesus confronted the religious leaders with this  narrow way of thinking . They were being very critical of his "choice" of followers. Jesus being Jesus puts them in their place about his choice of followers.  Saying to them. "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But he didn't stop there. He called them out for their lack of compassion for anyone that didn't meet their standard of " righteousness. "  Jesus full well knowing that they would take offense with what he was about to say to them. They being " experts" in the law and all.  Jesus told these men that spent their lives studying and interpreting the law." But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  To say that they must have been pissed is an understatement! God that we should focus on the weightier matters of the law. JUSTICE, MERCY, and FAITHFULNESS!