23 Matthew

Author

Cathie Lockwood

Scripture

Matthew 23:1-39

Observation

In the opening of this chapter, Jesus is talking to his disciples and the crowd gathered around him. He shares the 7 woes to the audience about the scribes and Pharisees:

  • The shut door-the scribes and Pharisees, as hypocrites, were showing a mixture of condemnation, regret and sorrow. They are fake leaders drawing the people away from the kingdom of God instead of towards it.
  • Entrapped converts- the scribes and Pharisees were quick to make converts and make them a people just like themselves, a people not walking with Jesus.
  • Binding oaths-the scribes and Pharisees were focused on what didn’t matter to God instead of what did matter. They distinguished between oaths made by the temple and those made by the gold of the temple, and between oaths made by the alter and those made by the gift on it. Superficial oaths.
  • Neglecting the weighty matters of the law- giving the least of what they had and neglecting the more important matters such as justice, mercy and faithfulness. They had become lost in the minute details, while neglecting the law’s overarching intent.
  • Clean outside, filthy inside- while seeking external purity, the Pharisees were oblivious to the corrupt internal condition of their hearts.
  • Whitewashed tombs- Jesus is describing the Pharisees as people that have things put together and beautiful on the outside but inside had nothing but death and decay.
  • Descendants of murderers of the prophets- the Pharisees schemed to have Jesus executed, the religious leaders are following in the footsteps of their ancestors who had persecuted and murdered God’s prophets.
  • Application

    I want to take the words of warning that were so beautifully contrasted with the beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5, and have Jesus examine me on the inside and expose the areas where I am being a hypocrite. I want to love Jesus genuinely with all my heart, soul, mind and strength!

    Prayer

    Jesus, it is my desire to be real with people, to have people come to Christ and grow closer and not apart from You. It is my desire to make a right oath before You and to give without neglecting the important matters. It is also my desire to have you expose the corrupt condition of my heart and to remove all that is death and decay.  Have your way in me so I can show Your light to the world that is in desperate need of You. In Jesus name, Amen!

     

    1 comment (Add your own)

    1. jim Asselin wrote:
    Thank you Cathie,
    This passage, and your comments remind me of the great responsibility we have as Christians: as Christian leaders to lead other Christians, and as Christians to lead the unsaved to Jesus.
    Because of my desire to be identified with Jesus, people will watch me. Where am I leading them?
    Because I default to simplicity I will naturally do the least required, am I demonstrating that to others?
    Because I want satisfaction in the eyes of others, do I keep my promises I make?
    Because I have little faith, do I sacrifice what really matters to God? Have I substituted mercy with money, activity with ministry?
    Because of my pride, do I elevate myself by judging others?
    Because of my vanity, do I spend time, money, and talent running after the things that make me look successful?
    Because of my lack of faith, do I default to religious activity which blinds me to the real work God wants me to do?
    And because of the great grace of Christ, I am forgiven in these areas where I fall short.
    Father, in my striving, give me your holiness that I do not possess. Give me your eyes so that I can see all the areas in which I need to repent of my desire to be first on the throne. Thank you for your patience with me. Increase my love for you and others.

    Fri, September 18, 2015 @ 8:23 AM

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