I will never forget the day I stood on the ruins of a third-century synagogue in Capernaum, just a stone’s throw from the beautiful blue waters of the Sea of Galilee. I was leading a tour of Christian pilgrims. Our guide called our attention to Matthew 23:3, a verse I had read hundreds of times but which now suddenly jumped off the page: “You must be careful to do everything [the teachers of the law and Pharisees] tell you.”
I was shocked. How could Jesus have recommended the teachings of the Pharisees when he warned against their hypocrisy in the same verse (“But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”)? How could I have missed this recommendation during decades of serious Bible study?
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