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The Words of Jesus
Translation by Robert Lee Cantelon
Copyright © 1991, 1995, 2004
by Robert Lee Cantelon
Address all correspondence to:
700 Sleater-Kinney Road SE #303B
Lacey, WA. 98503
Part One: WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?
THE PROBLEM OF RELIGION
Take heed; beware of living your life on religious “food.”
By now you have certainly forgotten the five loaves that fed the five thousand, with twelve baskets left over, and the seven loaves that fed the four thousand and the plenty that remained. But I am not speaking to you about earthly food. No, I have come to warn you against feeding on the ideas and false teachings of those who market in religion.
In vain such people worship me, teaching as doctrines what are merely the inventions of men. Preoccupied with their own superstitions, they have forgotten the commandments of God.
Beware of false teachers who stand before you wearing sheep’s clothing. Beneath their guise hides a ravenous wolf. They follow their true master, the evil one, and do what as he commands them. He was a murderer from the beginning, and never told the truth, because there was never truth in him. When he lies, he speaks in character, for he is a liar, and the father of lies.
To those who set themselves up to be your judges I say, judgment upon you, false teachers. Hypocrites! You, who will never enter the kingdom of heaven, bar the very way to those who long to go in. You travel across land and sea to gain one proselyte; and when that person is won, you make them two times more the children of hell than you are yourselves. Do you not merit great damnation?
You steal from the poor and the widows; and then, to conceal your true intentions, you make long pious prayers.
You decree: “The temple is unimportant. What is important is the treasury!”
But which is greater: the gold in the treasury, or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
And you say: “The altar is not important; but the gift that is upon it is important.”
You are both foolish and blind. Which is greater: the gift on the altar, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
Whoever honours the altar honours it and all things upon it. And whoever honours the temple honours him who dwells within its walls. And they who honour heaven, honour the throne of God, and he who sits upon it.
You make ceremonial offerings of even the herbs that grow at your front door. All the while, you have forgotten the weighty matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith.
Your vision extends not one inch in front of your face. Piously you strain a gnat from your wine, and proceed to swallow a camel. Self-righteously you clean the outside of your cup, while inside remains the grime of extortion. How blind can you be! First take care of what is concealed within. Only then, will the outside be clean.
False teachers! In your hypocrisy you are no better than whitewashed tombs, which might appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of death and decaying bones. You may impress people by your superficial demonstrations of virtue, but inside you are consumed with hypocrisy and have fallen short of the truth. How can you claim to serve God, who live only for your colleague’s praise, never seeking the honor that comes from God alone?
You build monuments to the prophets, and place flowers at the tombs of the righteous, and say: “If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have allowed their innocent blood to be shed.”
Be witness to your own inconsistency! You are the descendents of those who killed the prophets, and have surpassed even their wicked acts. Snakes! Generation of vipers! How will you escape the condemnation of eternal judgment?
Behold, in the days to come, I will send you prophets, and wise men, and teachers. Even these you will kill and crucify. Yes, even these you will persecute, and pursue to the ends of the earth.
Isaiah was right when he prophesied of you: “They approach me with their mouths, and honour me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me.”
You justify yourselves before your congregations; but God knows the evil intentions of your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed by man is repulsive in the sight of God.
Take heed: Many will come from the east and west, and enter joyfully the kingdom of heaven. But those who should have come in will be banished to the darkness outside. Be forewarned: Unless your righteousness exceeds the pseudo-righteousness of the religious, you will not set foot inside the kingdom of heaven.
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