A Warning Against Hypocrisy
1Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees base what they tell you on the teachings of Moses. 3So you must be careful to do everything they say. But don’t do what they do, because they’re all talk and no action. 4They tie up heavy, bulky loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they aren’t willing to lift a finger themselves to help.
5“Everything they do is for others to see. People sometimes wear little boxes on their foreheads and arms that hold Scripture quotes. But they make their boxes big and obvious. People put tassels on the four corners of their clothes to remind them to obey God’s commands. But they make their tassels extra long. 6They love to sit in the places of honor at dinners and have the most important seats in the synagogues. 7They love to be greeted with respect in the markets and to be called ‘Rabbi.’
8“But you shouldn’t be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have only one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9And don’t give anyone on earth the title ‘father,’ because you have only one Father, who is in heaven. 10And you shouldn’t be called ‘master,’ because you have only one Master, and he’s the Messiah. 11The greatest among you has to be your servant. 12People who lift themselves up will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be lifted up.
Woe to the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees
13-14“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 don’t enter yourselves, but you won’t let in other people who are trying to enter.
15“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You travel by land and sea to win one person to your way of living, but then you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
16“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone makes a promise in the name of the temple, it means nothing. But if anyone makes a promise in the name of the gold in the temple, they have to keep that promise.’ 17Blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold holy? 18You also say, ‘If anyone makes a promise in the name of the altar, it means nothing. But if anyone makes a promise in the name of the gift on the altar, they have to keep that promise.’ 19You’re blind! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift holy? 20Any promise that’s made in the name of the altar includes everything that’s on it! 21In the same way, any promise that’s made in the name of the temple includes the one who lives in it, 22and any promise made in the name of heaven includes God’s throne and the one who sits on it.
23“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You give God a tenth of your spices like mint, dill, and cumin. But you’ve neglected the more important things in the law, which are justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have done those things and not neglected the first ones either. 24You blind guides! You strain a gnat out of your food, but then you swallow a whole camel!
25“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but the inside is full of greed and selfishness. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.
27“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You’re like tombs that have been painted white. They look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside they’re full of dead people’s bones and other things that aren’t pure and clean. 28You’re just like that. On the outside you appear to be doing what’s right, but on the inside you’re full of hypocrisy and crime.
29“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the godly. 30And you say, ‘If we’d lived back in those days, we wouldn’t have helped kill the prophets.’ 31But you’re being witnesses against yourselves. You’re admitting that you’re descended from the people who murdered the prophets. 32They killed them, and you finish the job by building their tombs!
33“You nest of poisonous snakes! How will you escape being sentenced to hell? 34I’m sending you prophets, wise people, and teachers. You’ll kill some of them by nailing them to a cross. You’ll whip others in your synagogues and chase them from town to town. 35So you’ll have to pay for all the blood of godly people that has been spilled on the earth. I mean from the blood of godly Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berekiah, who was murdered between the temple and the altar. 36Truly I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for all of it.
37“Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and throw stones at those who are sent to you. Many times I’ve wanted to gather your people together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you wouldn’t let me! 38And now it’s too late: Your house is going to be deserted. 39I tell you, you won’t see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”