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Matthew 23:13-39 Woe

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Woe

Woe: There are seven of them listed in this passage. The Jewish leaders are hypocrites and Jesus exposed them in 23:1-12. This chapter discuses each woe.

This is a Bible Study. Have your own Bible handy to look up the references mentioned.

If you do not have a Bible, I invite you to go to BibleGateway.com or another online Bible.

Matthew 23:13-39

13. “The Lord uses the term woe eight times in this section and calls scribes and Pharisees hypocrites seven times. He accuses them of blocking the way to heaven by their false leadership.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 120)

14. This verse is not in the earliest manuscripts. McGee tells us “In other words, these men made long prayers, but they were heartless and crooked in business dealings.” (120)

15. “A proselyte is a convert to a cause. The Pharisees were out to win others to their legalistic system, yet they could not introduce these people to the living God.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 84)

Blind

16. The third woe: In the KJV this is the fourth woe, but when the earlier manuscripts removed the woe in verse 14 it makes it the third woe. Your decision.

“It was not the gold that gave the temple its significance. Rather, God’s presence gave the gold its special significance, setting it apart from all other gold in the world.” [Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber (2012). HNTC Vol. 01: Matthew. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]

17-22. Jesus laments the distinctions being made between the temple itself and its gold (vv. 16-17,21), between the alter itself and its gift or sacrifice (vv. 18-20), and between heaven and God himself (v. 22).” (Blomberg, Craig L., The New American Commentary, Volume 22, Matthew. [Nashville: Broadman Press], 345)

“Jesus maintains that temple, gold, altar, and gift all point to God and remain equally sacred, so that oaths taken in their name remain equally binding.” (Blomberg, 345)

Jesus emphasized “that because the altar, temple, and heaven all pertain to God, then making an oath in reference to any of them was tantamount to invoking God. Therefore, all oaths are binding.” (The Moody Bible Commentary, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, [Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 2014], 1497)

Hypocrites

23-24. “The Pharisees majored on minors. They had rules for every minute area of life, while at the same time they forgot about the important things.” (Wiersbe, 85)

25. “The Pharisees substituted ritual for reality, formality for faith, and liturgy for God.” (McGee, 121)

26. “He is not saying that the outside should not be clean. But you give a wrong impression when the inside is dirty and the outside is not. The place to start is on the inside.” (McGee, 121)

27-28. “Jesus drew attention to the irony of the religious leaders who claimed to keep the Law but, because of their inattentiveness to the more important aspect of the Law, were actually engaged in lawlessness.” (Moody, 1497)

“According to Old Testament law (Num. 19:11), anyone who came in contact with a dead body was ritually unclean for a week.” [Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber (2012). HNTC Vol. 01: Matthew. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]

29-33. “The prophets and righteous (cf. Matt. 10:41; 13:17) referred to God’s martyrs of the past, murdered by the forefathers of Israel, during the days when Israel was in rebellion against God.” [Max Anders and Stuart K. Weber (2012). HNTC Vol. 01: Matthew. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]

“’This generation’ disavows the sins of their forefathers and tries retrospectively to honor them through building and decorating cemetery memorials (vv. 29-30).” (Blomberg, 348)

31. “They admit they are linked by ancestry to the most wicked in Israel’s history, and they exhibit by their current rejection of Jesus their actual spiritual kinship to the rebellious Israelites of old.” (Blomberg, 348)

32. “In a bitterly ironic exclamation, Jesus orders them to go ahead and complete their behavior of their predecessors.” (Blomberg, 348)

Damnation

33. “Jesus’ invective continues and reaches its zenith. These particular Jewish leaders are ‘snakes,’ like their father the devil (cf. John 8:44).” (Blomberg, 348)

34. “Jesus refers to God bringing his true message to intransigent people in a way that simply guarantees they will continue to reject it and increase their hostility.” (Blomberg, 348)

35. “He makes it very clear that God will judge Israel for destroying the righteous. He is certainly contradicting our current philosophy that everyone will ultimately be saved. He says that they will not be saved.” (McGee, 122)

36. “He is predicting the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70.” (McGee, 123)

Jerusalem

37. “‘Jerusalem’ refers to the entire nation of Israel.” (Wiersbe, 86)

“Jerusalem rejected Him in His so-called triumphal entry, and He has rejected Jerusalem, but now He weeps over this city.” (McGee, 123)

“Jesus wishes he could gather all the recalcitrant ‘children’ of Israel, to love, protect, and nurture them like a mother hen does with her baby chickens.” (Blomberg, 350)

38. “’Your house’ probably means both the temple and the city, both of which would be destroyed in AD 70 by invading Roman armies.” (Wiersbe, 86)

39. “Jesus left the nation with a promise: He would one day return, and the nation would see Him and say, ‘Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord!‘ This is a quotation from Psalm 118:26.” (Wiersbe, 86)

References

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.

Blomberg, Craig L., The New American Commentary, Volume 22, Matthew. Nashville: Broadman Press
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
The Moody Bible Commentary, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 2014
Robertson, A. T., A Harmony of the Gospels. New York, HarperCollins Publishers
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004

 

Pharisees                                                                                                           End Times

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