13“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. kHypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.
15“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!
16“Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’17Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?18And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding.19How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred?20When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it.21And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it.22And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.
23“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the alaw—justice, bmercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.24Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!
25“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence!26You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.
27“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.28Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed.30Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’
31“But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.32Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started.33Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of chell?
34“Therefore, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law. But you will kill some by crucifixion, and you will flog others with whips in your synagogues, chasing them from city to city.35As a result, you will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time—from the murder of righteous Abel to the murder of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed in the Temple between the sanctuary and the altar.36I tell you the truth, this judgment will fall on this very generation.
That is a long and harsh scolding from Jesus that ends with a stern condemnation. This is directed at religious teachers and law givers, but we all can learn from it and are called to be cautious by it.
I very seldom attempt to summarize Jesus words because Jesus was a “wordy” person. I would strongly recommend that we all read this slowly to see if any part of it speaks directly to us. But there is one overriding theme in all of this: Don’t mistake following the rules for following God.
The religious leaders of the time had a rule or a ritual for everything. Jesus exposes how shallow and foolish this was. We are not called to pray the right words or do the right ritual at the right time to enter heaven. We are called to so much more than that. We are called to enter a one on one relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ who died for us and is risen and lives wants to live within us! This is so huge. Do you know the difference? Can you see it in your own life?
If you know and understand what I’m talking about, praise God right now. If you don’t, and you want to, simply admit to Jesus that you are a sinner and you need to have this real and fuller relationship with him. He will not fail you!
Lord Jesus, I know I don’t deserve it. I have sinned so much in my life. I have sinned in the last hour! But thank you and praise you for dying for my sins and coming to live within me. You have literally brought me life, true life, the only life that matters – Your life. Beginner’s Online Bible Study *obbs*