Today in Matthew 23 we see Jesus speaking to people and His disciples about the teachers of the law and the Pharisees and about their heart motives.
Have you heard the saying, "DO WHAT I SAY, NOT WHAT I DO?"
As we read, we see in verse 3 it says, “So you must obey them(because they are in authority) and do what they tell you. But do not do what they do because they don’t practice What they preach."
He goes on to talk about right motives vs. wrong motives. Not sincere, humble, whole hearted service to God but selfishly to be seen and approved by people; noticed and recognized.
Like a parent warning a child, “If you do this, then this will happen!" Jesus warns His disciple not to make the same mistakes.
There are 7 woes in this chapter. Woe is a Greek Word meaning anguish, anger and grief.
Jesus calls scribes and pharisees hypocrites. The word hypocrite comes from Greek word for actors - those who pretend- NOT heart felt. Their leadership does not lead people to heaven.
Pharisees proselytize others or go after them to convince them of their right way of thinking and that causes the converts to be damned because they end up following false teachers and false faith
Woe to you blind guides. Blindness symbolizes rejecting God’s message. Uses vows as an example as they manipulate certain vows or promises so that some can be broken without consequences. It negates their integrity.
The Pharisees were very careful to give 10% of every little thing-even herbs. While Jesus was not condemning the 10% tithe, He was saying that it had become so technical and legalistic that things such as justice, mercy and faithfulness were being overlooked and neglected.
Jesus said they were so determined to look good to others that they were full of hypocrisy and death. He used the example of cleaning the outside of the cup and leaving the inside dirty.
Jesus again draws a contrast between the outer appearance and the inner spirit. Graves were white washed with lime and had a clean look on the outside but that didn’t change the fact that underneath was death and decay.
Jesus says the Pharisees claim to honor the prophets of old but are just as guilty as their own relatives who persecuted and killed God’s messengers. He then talks about the judgement that will come upon them.
Jesus concludes all these woes with a reminder of the grief that He has about His people and how He would have protected them but they wouldn’t let Him. They refused Him.
He says, “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus desires us and wants us to be His children and wants us to serve Him and others with a pure heart of humility.