Wednesday 26 February 2020

Bible Book:

'Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.' (v. 21)

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Wednesday 26 February 2020

Psalm: Psalm 51:1-17


Jesus was a Jew. He debated Scripture in his synagogue, he worshipped in the Temple in Jerusalem, he observed Jewish laws and festivals, and he came “not to abolish” the law “but to fulfil it” (Matthew 5:17). Over centuries, Christians have used passages such as this from Matthew 6 to try to suggest that Jesus was engaged in a conflict with Judaism, and to conclude that Christianity has consequently replaced God’s covenant with the Jewish people. The danger with this interpretation is that it fails to recognise that Jesus was engaged in an intra-Jewish conversation with fellow Jews. To imply that all Jews are “hypocrites in the synagogue” and that we as Christians are the only ones to know the way to God would suggest that Jewish faith, practice and identity is not valid. But these interpretations are dangerous and have contributed to centuries of anti-Jewish hatred, not least as antisemitism rises around the world today.  

Jesus stood in a long Jewish tradition. His words from Matthew 6 are not a radical break from his own Judaism. Instead they can be placed alongside similar prophetic statements from the Hebrew Scriptures, such as Amos 5:21-24. It is a message for us today, not just a condemnation of Jesus’ own time and a call for us to look critically at our own faith and witness. Both Amos and Jesus suggest that our prayers and worship – whatever our faith – mean little if we fail to act justly in the streets as well as in our houses of prayer.

So what might this mean for us as we begin Lent? The coming days and weeks leading us to the Crucifixion and the Resurrection are a period of profound opportunity for prayer. Alongside our personal meditations, we are also called to act justly and with kindness to our neighbours and in our communities. In placing our ‘treasure’ – be it time, commitment, energy, mind or resources – where they are needed by others then we might also find a place there for our heart. In doing so we may find communication with something of God during Lent.


To Ponder:

  • How will you approach Scripture over Lent?
  • To what small action can you commit in order to put your faith into practice in your community? 
  • How can you act with solidarity and friendship towards communities of faith other than our own?
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