Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law

Woe to those who held positions of leadership, the ones who were directing God’s chosen ones down a path that would lead to destruction. The timing of Jesus ministry is wrapped up in the history of our Jewish ancestors: their system was broken. God provided laws to create order and discipline; the Pharisees added layer upon layer, ultimately to create an exclusive society that was removed from serving God. Read these words carefully and look insightfully as we consider our own systems.

Matthew 23:13-32, Luke 11:37-54

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One Reply to “Woes on the Pharisees and the Experts in the Law”

  1. Seven woes in Matthew and Six in Luke are directed at these men and Jesus does not hold back one bit:

    Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15

    It’s hard to read beyond these words, but Jesus continues to rebuke them: blind guides, you blind men, you hypocrites, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness, descendants of those who murdered the prophets, you foolish people, you neglect justice and the love of God, you are like unmarked graves, you have taken away the key to knowledge.

    I don’t read these words with pride or arrogance, this is not something to be proud of; rather, these are words that should make us look carefully in the mirror and examine our own hearts, motives and lofty positions.

    The last point in Luke’s gospel is one that calls to me in particular:

    You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering

    You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

    These leaders kept the people from salvation by making it overly difficult to understand. The yoke they placed upon the people was oppressive, they “shut the door” to those they were supposed to minister to.

    These words place a huge burden on church leaders today, really on all who claim to be Christians. Lord keep us humble, help us learn from these mistakes. Show us where we shut doors that need to be opened, where we are hypocrites, our failures.

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