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  • Daniel Smith

Day 62: Friday, June 5

Matthew 23:1-22

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long.

They love the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And call no one your ‘father’ on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

“But woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in.

“Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves!

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple is bound by nothing. But whoever swears by the gold of the temple is bound by the oath.’ Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing. But if anyone swears by the gift on it he is bound by the oath.’ You are blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and the one who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and the one who sits on it.


The Scriptures quoted are from the NET Bible® http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.


COMMENT & QUESTIONS

Today’s reading (and tomorrow’s) is all about the failures of the Jewish leaders. Jesus will present His strongest of criticisms to the religious elite in Jerusalem.

Jesus pronounces several woes on the Pharisees and the experts of the law. List some of the things in this passage that would make them hypocrites.

They preach but do not practice. They give heavy burdens to others but they don't lift anything themselves.

They do all their deeds to be seen by others. They dress to look like they are religious, but are unrighteous on the inside.

They seem like they're teaching about God and making disciples, but they actually turn people away from God.

They seem like they care about the temple, but they actually care more about the gold there than the temple itself.


Why is Jesus so direct and harsh with the Jewish leaders? Why is this such a different attitude to the compassion he showed on the crowds?

The Jewish leaders were God's representatives. They were meant to be the light of the world and a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). Instead they were a stumbling block. The leaders have extra responsibility on their shoulders. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).

PRAYERS

Thanks that Jesus is a perfect example and so far from the hypocrisy that the Pharisees had Thanks for leaders who choose humility over pride Pray that we will see hypocrisy in our own lives

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