Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Matthew 23: The Horrors Of Hypocrisy

Merely a quick scan of Matthew 23 will reveal that Jesus is unloading on his old rivals, the scribes and the Pharisees.  The primary target of His attack is their hypocrisy.

Jesus even includes a great shorthand definition of hypocrisy itself in vs. 3: "Do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach."

Six specific woes are included in this chapter.  Jesus calls out his enemies on the grounds that:

  • They keep people out of the Kingdom, both themselves and others.  
  • They focus on material wealth to the neglect of true spiritual value.
  • They obsess about tithing on everything physical but lack the more essential moral teachings of the law.
  • They believe that the external appearance of cleanliness is more important than the internal reality.
  • They act like they are holy when they are really spiritually dead on the inside.
  • They share in the same murderous spirit that their ancestors did when they killed God's prophets.

If you think that the last "woe" sounds like Jesus is faulting them for a historical pattern, you are right.  And that pattern is about to be repeated once again, this time with God's Son, Jesus Himself, as the murder victim.

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