Matthew 23: No time for pretense in life and death matters

Walking with Jesus has brought us to this 23rd chapter in Matthew.

Today’s teaching is on one word “hypocrisy”. “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially :  the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion.”* “act of playing a part on the stage”*.

Why nearly an entire chapter on hypocrisy? What is on Jesus’ mind? Here is a glimpse of what was on Jesus’ heart (God’s heart) at that late moment, when the time of His first visitation (and opportunity for people to be saved) was ending soon. Let us read Matthew 23:37-39 before we read all about the hypocrisy that stopped people from believing in Jesus and receiving His salvation.

Life and death is serious matter. No time for pretense. Be real. God wants you saved. Jesus is saying this to the those who still live as if life is just physical.

Jesus Laments over Jerusalem

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’

Matthew 23:1-36 (quoted in parts here; please read the whole chapter from your Bible)

Woe to ….

Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.

For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. … 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. ..

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, …Matthew-23-23-web-NIV

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. ..

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. For you are like whitewashed tombs … 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also…28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that … 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?…  36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

*(ref. Merriam-Webster)

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