Phylactery will get you nowhere (Matt 23:5-12)

Yesterday (Matt 23:1-4), we saw how the Pharisees added their own extra rules and regulations to the law. It started off with good intentions, building a hedge around the law to stop people getting anywhere near breaking one of God’s laws. But then they started to impose them on others. To judge themselves and others on how well they observed their man-made regulations. This made them the self-appointed gatekeepers of righteous behaviour, and made others dependent on them for “rulings” on what was right behaviour. In short, it gained them status. Which is what Jesus takes them to task over in the next verse:

Matthew 23:5-8 Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

Continue reading