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Day 3: The Religious Leaders Conspire Against Jesus

When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” Matthew 23:1-3

Imagine Jesus returning to Jerusalem, eager to teach in the temple. But instead of a warm welcome, the religious leaders question His authority and teachings.

But Jesus was focused and used stories to teach important lessons. But He doesn’t stop there. He criticizes the leaders, calling them hypocrites and misguided. These leaders should have known better. They were more focused on looking good than doing what’s right.

Jesus leaves the temple and keeps teaching elsewhere. But in secret, the religious leaders plan to arrest Him because they feel threatened by His message.

You’re probably thinking, “How could the religious leaders be so blind? Jesus, their long-awaited Messiah, is standing right in front of them!” While we may not see ourselves in these teachers and leaders, pride can also prevent us from seeing truth. And if we can’t acknowledge who God truly is (his attributes, promises, etc.), how can we live our lives correctly?

Put Yourself in the Story

Think about times in your own life when pride or self-righteousness may have clouded your judgment or prevented you from seeing the truth. Are there areas where you have been more focused on appearances rather than on doing what is right in the eyes of God?

Can you identify times when you may have been more like the Pharisees than Jesus? Here’s the truth: We all have. Be honest with yourself and with God. This may mean you need to admit you are wrong. Ask Jesus to help you live life the way He intended for you to live, authentically following His ways rather than your own.