“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our father, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets’. Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.” - Matthew 23:29-32
Jesus draws attention to the fact that the Pharisees, whom he called hypocrites, draw attention to themselves, boasting of their spiritual excellence in what they did. They say that if they had lived in the past they would never have acted like those who persecuted and even killed the prophets.
They build memorials to the memory of the prophets and also spend time in decorating the existing ones. This was all an outward show to draw attention to themselves and show how much better they are than those who lived in the past and acted in an unjust way. Jesus bluntly says that they are the sons of those who committed the atrocities of the past and bear the guilt as well.
Looking back on history we may feel that if we had lived in the past we would have acted differently than those who mistreated servants of God. It is easy, with hindsight, to say we would never be or do like others have done in the past.
But the past has gone and can never be regained but we can learn much from it that can stand us in good stead for the present and the future. You are alive today and can make a difference in someone’s life. The minutes, hours and day will pass very swiftly but we must not look back with regrets or willful boasting. Live today to the full for the glory of God.
Dear Father, thank You for noble examples of true Christian living of the past of those who served You faithfully and have left lasting memorials of their commitment to you. Help me today to live a purposeful life, in the name of the Lord Jesus.