1/1 Matthew 23:24

24 "You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!"

Some people who are ignorant of the Bible believe that Jesus never made judgments. Most of chapter 23 of Matthew consists of Jesus' statements of judgment against the Pharisees, a super-religious sect of the Jews. Today we are looking at His judgment against the Pharisees' method of studying and applying the Scripture. They focused on tiny details rather than the major issues.

Previously Jesus had given an example. Depending on what the person swore by, the Pharisees would say the vow was binding or non-binding. They defined breaking the Sabbath by a multitude of details such as how far you could walk, how much weight you could carry, what specific actions were forbidden, and many others. In contrast, Jesus saw that the greater issues are honesty and integrity. The Pharisees forgot that the main reason for the Sabbath was to rest and worship the Lord for all His goodness.

For those who have been Christians for many years, it is easy to fall into the same error. We understand the major issues, but instead of keeping the focus there, we may tend to start looking at details and trying to define what actions are right or wrong. Can one go to a PG movie or is PG-13 all right? Does a specific Greek word in the text mean this or that? We tend to forget the overarching principles that are the foundations of our faith. We strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. We go to that PG movie because we placed it in the unforbidden category on our list without considering what God would have us do.

Consider: Someone once wisely said we should major on the major issues and minor on the minor ones. Always consider the greater issue. How does it line up with the nature of God? What are the overarching biblical principles? If you ask those questions, you won't get lost in the details.