By Deanna Bartalini


“but he who does them and teaches them
shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:19b


Have you ever considered just how radical Jesus’ teachings are? And we cannot say the teachings were only radical back then; they are radical today. Years ago, when I was in graduate school, there was a word used to explain how Jesus turned logical expectations upside down, parabled. And in today’s Gospel, we are parabled again.

How To Be Great

If you were to ask children on a playground how to be an excellent sports star or the best student or become famous somehow, they would probably explain that you had to stand out, be different, and be much better than average. Yet, the last line of the Gospel is: “but he who does them (the commandments) and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19b).

That is an example of parabled. Jesus takes the world’s ideas and turns them upside down. He wants us to do two simple things, obey the commandments and teach the commandments. Obey and teach. 

I’m Not A Teacher

But you are. You might not have an education degree or teaching certificate, but you are teaching people all the time. Our behavior, the lives we lead, and the attitude we convey all combine to teach others who and what we believe. Have you heard the phrase, “do as I say, not as I do”? Or how about “actions speak louder than words”? 

Which do you prefer? For me, it is definitely “actions speak louder than words.” And not only does it make more sense it is how I want to live my life. Acting on the words of Jesus, living out the commandments, and when I fail, I make amends and seek confession. Honestly, I have always wanted to be great. Jesus tells me how – obey and teach. I’m in. How about you?



Father, I ask you to help me know and live out the commandments. My desire is to obey and teach, so that I may become the great person You have created and called me to be. Amen.

Call to Action

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see where your actions and words may not match each other or the commandments. Then, take action toward putting them in alignment with each other and the commandments.


© 2022 WINE — All Rights Reserved