Sunday, March 20, 2022

Sincerity Having Peace Instagram Post. 03/20/2022 8:00am


13 “I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.

15 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.

16-22 “You’re hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless. 

-Matthew 23:13-22 The Message

Eight Woes

Verse 13: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter it yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

Verse 14: [Woe to you, scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense, you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]

Verses 13-14 studies: Being a religious leader in Jerusalem was very different from being a pastor in a secular society today. Israel’s history, culture, and daily life centered around its relationship with God. Religious leaders were known as favored, forceful, and respected leaders. Jesus made these stinging accusations because the leaders strived for power, money, and status. This caused them to lose focus on God, and their blindness was spread to the whole nation. 

Verse 15: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

Verse 15 study: The Pharisees’ converts were attracted to Pharisaism, not to God. They were caught up in details of their additional laws and regulations. So they missed God, to where the laws pointed. A religion of deeds puts pressure on people to surpass others and what they know to do. A hypocritical teacher was likely to have a student who was hypocritical as well. We can prevent this by making sure we are not creating Pharisees by emphasizing outward obedience at the expense of inner renewal.

Verse 16: “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’

Verse 17: You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?

Verse 18: And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the offering that is on it is obligated.’

Verse 19: You blind men, which is more important, the offering or the altar that sanctifies the offering?

Verse 20: Therefore, the one who swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it.

Verse 21: And the one who swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells in it.

Verse 22: And the one who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.