February 2019   
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Woes From God on the Scribes and Pharisees #2

            In Matthew 23 the woes which Jesus pronounced on the scribes and Pharisees should help us in our struggles, as His children, to better understand and to act in a way that  will please Him. Jesus stated, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean theoutside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,  And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell” (Matthew 23:23-33).


            It is not enough to bring gifts of money and other offerings to the Lord. Jesus pronounced a woe on the scribes and Pharisees because they made sure that they brought such things to the Lord; but had forgotten what really mattered to God. They forgot righteous “judgment, mercy, and faith.” Jesus pointed out that they should have been faithful in embracing these things as well as the other (Matthew 23:23).


            Two statements were made as woes upon the scribes and Pharisees because they put on an outward appearance of being righteous while they were actually “full of extortion and excess” (Matthew 23:25). In His example Jesus used a cup and platter to illustrate the fact that on the outside one could make a show and yet be filled with the filth of the world, (Matthew 23:27-28). Jesus also referred to the scribes and Pharisees; as “whited sepulchers” which, while they look good, contain nothing more than “dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27-28). 


            Jesus stated that the scribes and Pharisees would see their actions as greater than that of their forefathers and deny that they had the blood of the prophets on their hands. He concluded that they were just like their fathers and stated, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33).


            Jesus gives us a warning telling us that we must not imitate the actions of the scribes and Pharisees in our service to God. He stated, “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). The apostle Paul told the brethren in Rome “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Many treat the word of God as if it was of no importance or if it wasn’t really meant to be for them. Some seem to think that they can just waltz into heaven without obeying the gospel. Jesus stated, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).


            When the Day of Judgment comes where will we stand? Jesus stated that on that day there would be two groups of people: those who have followed the will of God are referred to as sheep and those who have rejected the truth or lived pretentiously in their service to God (Matthew 25:31-33). He stated that the sheep would be welcomed into the eternal kingdom and the goats would be cast out (Matthew 25:34-45). The reward of both will be final and will endure throughout eternity. He stated, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46).


            When Jesus returns will He see your righteousness as “exceeding” that of the scribes and Pharisees? Will He welcome you as a good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21)?