The Jews of the prophet Zachariah’s day, as well as Jesus Christ’s day, could not be faulted when it came to religious rituals. But the rituals only served to reveal how superficial their spirituality was. In their observance of fasting and praying, they paid more attention to the temple than what the Temple denoted in God’s purpose.
God sees our motive in whatever we do. That is to say that he does not just see what we do, but also our hidden intention in doing them. It was clear that the Jews paid greater attention to their sufferings than to the Lord himself. Ritual, devoid of a necessary occupation with its proper object could become sterile. It could be inferred that as one could feast in self-interest, so also they could fast for motives other than those for which self-denial was originally designed. Religious symbols, when they are emphasized above the spiritual realities which they represent, become idols.
Unless we are committed to knowing the Lord in a personal way and to serving Him and doing His will, our religious observances – whatever they may be worth could simply become sheer idolatry.
– By Jokpeme Joseph omode