Woes to Scribes and Pharisees
In the Beginning
In the Beginning
No, not the beginning of time, but the beginning of Jesus ministry. Matthew brings to life the Sermon on the Mount.
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
As Jesus public ministry nears the end, from the blessings He started with in the “beatitudes” now He is giving a series of woe’s to the Scribes and Pharisee’s.
This will end the public ministry of Jesus as He will now give some focus and teaching to the Apostles as He prepares for the cross and them for the resurrection and the mission work to follow.
The best way to look at this section of scripture is in a contrast form, but we need to look at it is context first.
Open Story books to pg. 124-5, start with the first woe, 1/2 way down page.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Now turn to your Bibles to Mt23:13-36
As we go through this today, do not get the idea that Jesus is mad, angry or has lost His temper with them. His desire is for them to repent and turn and that has not happen so Jesus is coming from a place of sorrow. The Pharisee’s and the scribes are blinded to God’s truth by their own sins. We will contrast them with Mt5:3ff and look at true righteousness and false righteousness.
(Need to insert a parallel slide with Mt23:13 and Mt5:3 on it)
To enter into the kingdom one needed to know how to enter, they need to know they are poor in spirit, broken in spirit, helpless to enter on their own merits.
The contrast here in (v.13) is what?
They shut off the kingdom to people
And they keep themselves out because of attitude, self-sufficient, their pride.
11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
When you add man-made traditions it prevents people from knowing the truth and it is the truth that shall make you free (ref. Jn8:32) another good scripture to go with this is
52 “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”
When pride and man-made traditions are brought in you take away the key of knowledge that keeps you out and hinders others from entering.
(Need to insert a parallel slide with Mt23:14 and Mt5:4 on it)
What do you see as the elements of this woe?
What about the blessings in Mt5:3?
Jesus promised comfort to the mourners; the Pharisee’s took advantage of the the widows. So we see the covetousness of the Pharisee’s
In some of the commentary on this verse, I read historically that it was a common practice at that time, and even today we see it, that the Pharisee’s would show up at home of widow and say if they wanted to give honor to the dead husband they should donate to their ministry work. People today are still doing this, be careful of those vultures out there that want to take advantage.
5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness—
(Need to insert a parallel slide with Mt23:15 and Mt5:5 on it)
Proselyte is a convert to a cause, in this case to legalistic Judaism. They would go to great lengths to try to win someone to their way.
I will give you the contrast on this one, The meek shall inherit the earth - and the proud, well they send souls to hell
They were bringing people to a system of the law not to a relationship with God which was only found through Jesus Christ .
Son of hell, child of hell depending on your version is the equivalent to “child of the devil.” Jesus had already used that term before hence why I bring up now.
44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
A person who is rejecting salvation by faith, righteousness by faith and replacing it by some religious system that cannot save you. Now you know as I that most people when they come to faith are zealous and their zeal may even exceed the teacher so they are “twice the son of hell” as this passage says since they are not in the truth but in the lie that is not of faith.
Too long of a passage to put side by side with the Mt5:6
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Here we have another one where jesus has used the term before, he calls them blind guides (v.16) blind men (v.17, 19) this was seen before
14 “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
They are missing, not seeing the true value of life. Their priorities were messed up.
Hunger and thirst for righteousness is - for integrity, truth and the simplicity of the gospel truth. The Pharisee’s were not hungering for that they were hungering for the gold, the greed for themselves.
Interesting fact that if someone were to swear by the temple, they could be lying and it would be acceptable, but if someone swore by the gold in the temple, they were obligated to tell the truth. Semantics of words, but remember, Jesus knows the intent of the heart.
They had a religious system that permitted them to rob God and still have a godly reputation by calling things “corban”
11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’
(Need to insert a parallel slide with Mt23:23-24 and Mt5:7 on it)
In short version here it is “don’t major in the minors”
The gnat and the camel were both unclean animals, the gnat would be strained out of the soup, while the camel was ignored here. They looked at the minute but missed the big picture of ?
According to (v.23) what were they missing? And what should they be doing?
Rules, rules, rules, rules for everything, except for the important things. - Justice, mercy and faithfulness! No doubt God wants us to give to Him, it started in Genesis with Abraham, and here in the N.T. the principle is as purposed in your heart, not by the letter of the law. Our character is not found in our giving but in our heart of giving.
(Need to insert a parallel slide with Mt23:25-26 and Mt5:8 on it)
Purity of the believer allows the believer to _______ God ()
Because they are _________ they cannot see God (v.26)
See God see’s the heart
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
And when looking at the Pharisee’s he sees the greed
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
We need to watch over our heart don’t we?
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
For from the heart comes the springs of life.
D.L. Moody said “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”
Where the Pharisee’s were worried about appearances, about reputation, character should have been the important thing.
How can you look out for your character, your integrity? (use this time permitting
(Need to insert a parallel slide with Mt23:27-28 and Mt5:9 on it)
As time is running out on us, here they on the inside are but whitewashed tombs they claim peace but are plotting to kill the Prince of Peace.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
So we have already talked about they are claiming peace, but are planning to kill the prince of peace. They are saying we would have no part of the killing of the previous prophets, but are going to kill God’s prophet in Jesus.
What does Jesus call them in (v.33)?
What does Jesus claim they are going to do (v.34)? - did that happen?
What did jesus say the result will be (v.35)
When did Jesus say this would come to pass (v.35)?
There have always been counterfeit believers, starting with Cain (Gen4:1ff); and the Pharisee’s here where they claim in the name of religion to want to kill, and will kill Jesus. From the first martyr Abel (Gen4:1ff) to Zechariah (2Cor24:20ff) from A to Z the iniquity is going to have judgment passed on it. on this generation of vipers (v.33) when the cup of iniquity is full.
32 “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.
16 “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”
This is the cup of iniquity; the guilt, the sin is full, judgment comes. We know of some that came in A.D. 70 and one day the Lord Himself will bring judgment on the world.
So what should we do, can we do? What can we take away from the “woe’s” - know God is concerned about the heart, the inner man, not the outer man, not the externals. Be concerned about character than reputation. Follow the example of Jesus and live a holy life!