Matt. 23

In this passage there is a simple message and the Messiah was very clear in His monolog. There are few places in the scriptures where He was stronger with His words. Christ is speaking to the scribes, Pharisees and teachers, religious leaders who were all the targets of this discourse. 

The warning to this group was to those who sat in the  Moses seat(leaders of the church), where the holy scriptures were both read and taught (seat of authority). Their teachings were focused around the outward practices, it must make us look good to be good. These teachings put the hearers under bondage and weighted down the people with rituals. For instance, washing the outside of the cup that everyone sees, the outward was what mattered to them but the problem is that Jesus wasn't hearing any talk or interest about cleaning the inside of the cup. It was all about looking good for ego sake. Jesus is saying here, yes clean the cup on the outside, as well as the inside.  It needs the same focus as the outside. Then there were the issues of saying one thing and doing the another, along with showing superiority by their position and power, which is pride.

Today that same warning applies to us all to ensure that the whole truth is presented, the outer... and the inner part.

Woe to those that mislead, or exploit the word of God.


  1. Good stuff Paul. Something that is a reminder to me in this chapter is the hypocrisy that I continually need to battle within myself. It is so easy, going about my day, thinking about some wonderful thing that I may have done for someone and what a fabulous servant I am for God, but, in most cases before I shoot off my mouth, or start comparing myself to someone else, I have the Holy Spirit to slap me up side the head to remind me that "they have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one." Psalm 14:3 RSV. (and maybe peruse Romans Chapter 3 if you have a chance). There is nothing that I can do that is worthy of notice in God's eye. I can only please Him by my love for Him through Jesus and what Christ does through me. This total dependency on Christ for every thought or action in my life is something I am desperately seeking. It always seems that when I need Him the most is when I tend to rely on myself. I pray for all of us to develop a relationship with Him that is so powerful that we would always be in constant communion with Him.

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  3. It's interesting that Jesus tells the people that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat (which, for Jews was a pretty high standard!). Jesus also tells them to obey everything they told them. We always just view the Pharisees and others as the enemies of Jesus. But it seems that the Pharisees and teachers of the law had something going on that was right that even Jesus approved of.

    So where did they go wrong? They seemed to have believed in a lot of the right things... and they tried to follow the law as much as they could... even to an extreme point... that they eventually became slaves to the law (in hopes to speed up the process of the coming of the Messiah).

    I don't think that they were wrong in the form itself. I think their failure was in the slavery to the form. They lost sight of why they were doing what they were doing. And obviously, when you lose sight of God, your heart is not in the right place.