Jesus Cares about Desire, Not Empty Demonstrations
Another example comes from John 1. Jesus passes by John the Baptist and two of his disciples. Seeing Jesus, the disciples follow him. Jesus turns to them and asks “What do you want?” (John 1:38). This may seem like a weird way to greet people, especially for Jesus, but this conveys a strong message: Jesus was not interested in blind followers. The first thing He did was check their hearts.
He wanted to know why they were there, why they were trying to follow Him. Their physical presence with Him wasn’t enough, He cared about where their hearts were as well.
In Matthew 6, Jesus specifically talks about prayer. His big no-no is going into public, praying to be seen.
He says “Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5). In this, He is saying they desire attention...and attention they have received, but that is all they will get. Their hearts are not entering a place of humility with God, but a place of righteousness among other people.
If your prayer posturing is for the approval and praise of others, then you’re doing it all wrong. Instead of loud, public prayer, He promotes private prayer, alone in your own room with the door shut, and not to babble on in hopes of being heard (Matthew 6:6-7). He then gives them the Lord’s prayer, structuring how to communicate with God.
So what does Matthew 6 have to do with prayer posturing? Nothing and everything.
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