Matthew 23: 27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28“So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
What an indictment of these men the Lord has made. Back then, and today, there is perhaps no worse enemy of our faith than these hypocritical people. Newer or weaker followers of the Lord are vulnerable to their hollow preaching and today’s post-Christian media feeds on stories of their failure. They are in desperate need of our prayers.
Parable of the Marriage Feast
1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3“And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4“Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ 5“But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7“But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 8“Then he said* to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10“Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.
11“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12and he said* to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13“Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Tribute to Caesar
15Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. 16And they sent* their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. 17“Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” 18But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19“Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. 20And He said* to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They said* to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said* to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” 22And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.
Jesus Answers the Sadducees
23On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him, 24asking, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘IF A MAN DIES HAVING NO CHILDREN, HIS BROTHER AS NEXT OF KIN SHALL MARRY HIS WIFE, AND RAISE UP CHILDREN FOR HIS BROTHER.’ 25“Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; 26so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. 27“Last of all, the woman died. 28“In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.”
29But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31“But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” 33When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.
34But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38“This is the great and foremost commandment. 39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: 42“What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said* to Him, “The son of David.” 43He said* to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,
44 ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET”’?
45“If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” 46No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.
1Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4“They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5“But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9“Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
13“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ 17“You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18“And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ 19“You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20“Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21“And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22“And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24“You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
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. 26“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28“So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31“So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32“Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?
34“Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36“Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Lament over Jerusalem
37“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38“Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39“For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”
Praise for Jerusalem’s Restoration and Prosperity.
1 Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
4 He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
5 Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite.
6 The LORD supports the afflicted;
He brings down the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
8 Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
9 He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens which cry.
10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.