23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
The fifth “woe” pictures the religious leaders as punctilious in care for minor matters and missing matters of great import.
For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.
Mint, dill, and cummin were garden plants grown as seasoning herbs. They were used as one form of tithe. Religious leaders were scrupulous in tithing minuscule things but neglected more weighty matters such as justice, mercy, and faith. The latter three are at the heart of the Law.
These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
Jesus did not devalue the minuscule, but He put priority on things of greater value.
Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
Blind religion strains at the gnat and swallows the camel. Both the gnat and the camel were unclean ceremonially (Lev 11:42, 4). The Pharisees were fastidious about ritual trivialities but could lie, cheat, and operate with hypocrisy.
False religion invariably inverts priorities.
It is easy for religion to major on minors. Invariably distorted religion puts priority on the insignificant and ignores important principles of God’s Word. Religion is often fastidious about insignificant details but misses the most important things in life. Many evangelicals put priority on things of lesser value as well. We would rather be mechanical about church attendance than have passion about reaching the lost.
Mic 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?