Jesus was sent to earth with a mission to reconstruct the religious world. The Law was over bearing and no one was keeping the law. The religious institutions of the day had created oppressive rules and regulations upon The Law which keep people enslaved to perpetual rituals that were not worshipping or honoring God.

The Jews were on the watch for their Messiah to also deliver them from the oppression of the Romans just as God had delivered them from Pharaoh. After Jesus had been on earth for 30 years he began his public ministry and instead of the religious leaders welcoming him they began to criticize him. The conflict was the first recorded reformation of religion and church fight.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were invested in keeping the rituals Jesus was invested in relationships. The religious leaders were more concerned with form and fashion and Jesus was more consumed with substance. The Ruling Jewish Council knew about the hurting, the sick and the lame but Jesus reached out and touched the hurting, the sick and the lame. The entire Jewish nation was comfortable with the purity of their religion but Jesus challenged them that until the worshipped with a pure heart their religion was unacceptable to God. The Pharisees, Sadducees, religious leaders and Ruling Council thought that Jesus was attempting to break The Law and Jesus was really coming to fulfill the law.

The keepers of the law attempted to trick Jesus in this text

Matthew 22:34-40
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jesus not only understood the hidden intent but he produced a brilliant answer that summarized the 10 Commandments in two sentences.

Lesson – The church is in need of reformation today. Churches all over the United States and Canada are dying, in the process of dying or are dead and do not even know it. They are Lutheran churches, Baptist Churches, Methodist Churches, AME Churches, Disciple of Christ Churches and even non denominational churches. Most of these churches are rooted in grounded in solid theology and 1950s, 60’s and 70’s paradigms of being and doing church. The fear of moving into the 21st Century is the same fear that holds them back from being engaged in fruitful ministry.
Church people still rebel against reform because they are comfortable with where they are. Many do not see the big picture of the churches demise. Until the church is released from religion we are going to be in bondage.

People inside the church and outside of the church are hurting because of broken relationships with God and broken relationships with other people. We can not have healthy relationships with other people as long as our relationship with God is anemic, weak and malnourished. God’s design to pass on perfect love (agape love) is through those who confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. These are the people who have been saved from apathy of a broken church and saved to the joy of a reformed church that worships God in Spirit and in Truth.

Prophetically Proclaiming a Reformation

Rev. William T Chaney Jr
Senior Servant Leader
West Baltimore UMC
5130 Greenwich
Baltimore, MD 21229
(410) 945-8397
West Baltimore UMC: Transforming the 40 West Corridor by Being and Making Disciples for Christ