Today, we’ll examine Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees in Matthew 23. We’ll look at the overall context. We’ll see how the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesus’ day were false shepherds who exploited the flock of God. And we’ll wrap up by looking at how not to go down the same path.
I. THE BACKGROUND
- Matthew 23 is set inside the final week of Jesus’
- Notice the climax of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23. The Jewish religious leaders were hypocrites. See 23.13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29.
II. THE BASIS FOR JESUS’ CONDEMNATION:
- 23.2 – They lacked authenticity.
- The placed themselves in Moses’ Not there by God’s command.
- It was viewed as a seat of authority, religious instruction, and knowledge.
- This was not the first time this happened in Jewish history. Jeremiah 23.
- 23.3 – They lacked integrity.
- Jesus: When they taught what the law said, “do it.”
- But, do not follow their deeds. for they preach but do not practice.
- False leaders often look very good on the outside, but are rotten inside.
- Matthew 7.16 – time and truth go hand in hand.
- 23.4 – They lacked sympathy.
- False leaders brought people under heavy burdens. Rules. Regulations.
- 23.4b – move – think “remove.” No sympathy. No care. Heartless. Loveless.
- Ostracized strugglers instead of caring, nurturing, or encouraging.
- Ezekiel 34.1-6. Contrast to Matthew 12.15-21, especially at 12.20.
- 23.5 – They lacked spirituality. Everything was for show. See Matthew 6.
- No spiritual life in them. Spiritual frauds.
- 23.5 – broad phylacteries and lengthy fringes.
- 23.6-8 – They lacked humility. Place of honor at the feasts. Called “rabbi.”
- 23.11-12 – don’t be like them.
III. HOW TO KEEP FROM GOING DOWN THE SAME PATH
- Seek to serve – not be served.
- Be a sympathizer – not a burden giver.
- Be meek and gentle.
- Seek no honor.
- What is the overall pattern of your life?
- How committed are you to your calling?