The weightier matters of the law
Jesus upbraided the Pharisees by saying in Mat 23:23 that, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
This is a very serious judgement on these people as that they had placed more emphasis on externals or appearance than the true worship of God. The Pharisees were more concerned with the externals of religious worship than true worship through the spirit.
They believed that what was important was all the other things connected with worship such as the ceremonies and the liturgy and they taught the people so. All these had to do as far as the Pharisees were concerned was pay their tithes and observe all the written and unwritten laws including the strict observance of the Sabbath.
In doing this, and in placing emphasis just on these, they ignored what was most important to the human spirit: the worship of God through the activity of the spirit. It avails us nothing if we say our prayers by the hundred, or if we donate all our monies to the various religious organisations, or if we observe all the rules and observances of a particular religious organisation. As long as our spirits do not take part in these activities and as long as we do not realise that all that God demands of us is to strive to give purity to our thoughts, our words and deeds and to observe the true Laws of this Creation, then all is in vain.
Religious ceremony is important and just as Jesus said “…without neglecting the others…”, but when it is elevated to a position where it now counts for everything, then something is wrong and the whole thing does not accord any longer with true worship of God.
What are we then to take away from these words of Christ?: Seeking to be true human beings through rediscovering our spirits is what is most important. Seeking to understand the Justice of God and how It applies to us and seeking to acquire faith through the knowledge of the Laws of God are what is of the utmost importance.
This is the kernel, the core to which we must adhere and bring into practice. The external ceremonies of religious worship count for nothing if we do not observe these most important Laws. In fact, these ceremonies can only have more meaning and grow in their significance and become more ennobled only after we concern ourselves with this kernel, this core.