Matthew 23:1-22 – March 22
Posted by DiscoverOneThing
Our online study in the Gospel of Matthew is intended to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection on Easter. Read today’s scripture, journal on it using SOAP, then please share as we encourage one another in this one thing. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading, then below that is a SOAP from one of our study leaders. The Comments section on our website is an open forum for sharing, requesting prayer, and asking questions.
A Warning Against Hypocrisy
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees
13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! 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. 
15 “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.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.
Character or Reputation — Who Am I Like? | Dyea Rowland
For the teachers and the Pharisees, there was such a desire for the praise of anyone but the One true God. There was more worry about being noticed by what they were saying and doing more than actually doing the right things for the right reasons. Jesus warned them in the form of seven woes. Woe to them that it wasn’t about the “show”, but rather the intimacy of having true personal relationships, first with God and also with any of whom they thought were beneath them.
What a self-examining chapter! Why do I do the things I do? Is it to please You or is it to please others? Are my tassels too long; do I have just the right passages underlined in my Bible for everyone to see? Lord, let my intentions be because of a selfless and God-pleasing heart, not a people-pleasing heart. I want to be like You.
Father, You know there have been a few conversations lately about the struggle between a person’s character and the reputation. Let me be the voice to tell the truth that character far exceeds reputation, but let me not forget that truth either. Let me be the one who humbles myself instead of exalting myself. In Your highest name…Amen.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.