Matthew 23:23-39 – March 23
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.
Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
First Cleanse the Inside | Rebecca Hoyt
Jesus is saying do not be like the scribes and Pharisees — don’t say one thing and do another. Don’t let what you do be for the purpose of getting attention or power. Don’t let what you do come from serving what you want but let it be from serving God.
Verse 25: For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. The sermon at my church on Sunday was about why when asking people what is it that turns them off about Christians, the answer is people think they are hypocrites. I think too often I gravitate to other Christians. But God is telling me to work on meeting non-Christians also.
Dear Lord, please help me to make sure my insides are clean before I worry about the outside. Thank You once again for bringing home the getting out of my comfort zone.
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.