Matthew 23

Jesus the King and Messiah assesses Israel’s hypocritical religious leaders (vv. 1-36) and the hypocritical nation itself (vv. 37-39). While Jesus recognized the scribes and Pharisees’ legitimate teaching position (vv. 2-3), he warned against following their example (vv. 4-7).

The scribes and Pharisees were only concerned with external, proud appearances (vv. 4-7, 27-28) and powerful positions for selfish ends (vv. 8-12). These hypocrites kept lost souls in spiritual darkness (vv. 13, 15), took advantage of the powerless (v. 14), devalued God’s institutions (vv. 16-22), ignored his laws (vv. 23-24), perverted salvation (vv. 25-26), and deceived themselves into thinking they were faithful men (vv. 29-32). Jesus the Messiah will judge them (vv. 33-36) and the nation that followed them (vv. 37-39).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Religious hypocrisy damns the hypocrite’s soul and those who follow him. Hypocrites use and twist the things of the Lord for the things of this world, thereby dishonoring him.
  2. Jesus sought to save Israel from her sins, but her hypocrisy blinded and hardened her to her terrible sinfulness. The path of hypocrisy hardens one to Jesus Christ (v. 37) and leads to hell and destruction (v. 35).
  3. Beware hypocrisy!