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Matthew 23

23
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.’ ”
23
1 THEN JESUS said to the multitudes and to His disciples,
2 The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat [of authority].
3 So observe and practice all they tell you; but do not do what they do, for they preach, but do not practice.
4 They tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and place them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger to help bear them.
5 They do all their works to be seen of men; for they make wide their phylacteries (small cases enclosing certain Scripture passages, worn during prayer on the left arm and forehead) and make long their fringes [worn by all male Israelites, according to the command]. [Exod. 13:9; Num. 15:38; Deut. 6:8.]
6 And they take pleasure in and [thus] love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,
7 And to be greeted with honor in the marketplaces and to have people call them rabbi.
8 But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers.
9 And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven.
10 And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ.
11 He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor.
13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces; for you neither enter yourselves, nor do you allow those who are about to go in to do so.
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you swallow up widows' houses and for a pretense to cover it up make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation and the heavier sentence.
15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes one [a proselyte], you make him doubly as much a child of hell (Gehenna) as you are.
16 Woe to you, blind guides, who say, If anyone swears by the sanctuary of the temple, it is nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the sanctuary, he is a debtor [bound by his oath].
17 You blind fools! For which is greater: the gold, or the sanctuary of the temple that has made the gold sacred? [Exod. 30:29.]
18 You say too, Whoever swears by the altar is not duty bound; but whoever swears by the offering on the altar, his oath is binding.
19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar which makes the gift sacred?
20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.
21 And he who swears by the sanctuary of the temple swears by it and by Him Who dwells in it. [I Kings 8:13; Ps. 26:8.]
22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by Him Who sits upon it.
23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you give a tenth of your mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected and omitted the weightier (more important) matters of the Law–right and justice and mercy and fidelity. These you ought [particularly] to have done, without neglecting the others.
24 You blind guides, filtering out a gnat and gulping down a camel! [Lev. 27:30; Mic. 6:8.]
25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but within they are full of extortion (prey, spoil, plunder) and grasping self-indulgence.
26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and of the plate, so that the outside may be clean also.
27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you are like tombs that have been whitewashed, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men's bones and everything impure.
28 Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretense and lawlessness and iniquity. [Ps. 5:9.]
29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous,
30 Saying, If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have aided them in shedding the blood of the prophets.
31 Thus you are testifying against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.
32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' sins to the brim [so that nothing may be wanting to a full measure].
33 You serpents! You spawn of vipers! How can you escape the penalty to be suffered in hell (Gehenna)?
34 Because of this, take notice: I am sending you prophets and wise men (interpreters and teachers) and scribes (men learned in the Mosaic Law and the Prophets); some of them you will kill, even crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue and persecute from town to town,
35 So that upon your heads may come all the blood of the righteous (those who correspond to the divine standard of right) shed on earth, from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar [of burnt offering]. [Gen. 4:8; II Chron. 24:21.]
36 Truly I declare to you, all these [evil, calamitous times] will come upon this generation. [II Chron. 36:15, 16.]
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!
38 Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God's help). [I Kings 9:7; Jer. 22:5.]
39 For I declare to you, you will not see Me again until you say, Blessed (magnified in worship, adored, and exalted) is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! [Ps. 118:26.]