Matthew 23 “Jesus and Religious People”

Matthew 23 _Jesus and Religous People (audio File)

Last week: Peter confesses Jesus is the Christ. The Revelation, The Reset, The invitation.

This week we are looking at something that happened between Palm Sunday and Easter.  What happened when Jesus comes to the Pharisees.

Who are the Pharisees?…, Devout, some had memorized the Torah, followed the rules, religious, they were protecting their faith…Basically, when you get down to it, Church Folk they are us. We as Christians see them as the bad guys in scripture, but if you really think about it, they were more like us than some of the other people Jesus interacts with.

So, as soon as Jesus got into Jerusalem, the Pharisees are harassing him. Asking him questions to try to trap him, and plotting to Kill him. After the last exchange that took place, we see Jesus, in front of a crowd of turns to them and blasts the Pharisees. SO, incidentally, if your only picture of Jesus is a sweet man with flowing hair holding a lamb, or a baby, I hope that this passage has expanded your view. This is a passage of scripture where Jesus uses insults, and harsh language to rebuke the Pharisees while warning His people about them. Jesus gives us some very insightful things for our lives to address us as we read. Things that we, as church folk should pay attention to.

Their Piety is not genuine v. 1-12; 27-28: it is Hypocritical, and showy. They wore all the clothes and looked the part, but it was all for show. They followed rules of behavior modification, but never addressed their hearts… Righteous never goes from the outside in. All of our obedience must come from a heart that has been made right with God and wants to serve Him, not make ourselves look good to others.

Their focus is on gift, rather than giver v. 16-22: They placed a greater emphasis on what people brought to God, than the fact that God is the one who makes things sacred. They were focussed on what people gave, and not the fact that God deserves it all… All that we receive is meant to produce worship of God.

Their obedience is selective v. 23-24: They were picking and choosing what they would believe in the Bible, based mostly on what they were good at… All of our lives need to yield to all of scripture. Not just the things we like. We need to study it.

They were arrogant about others sins, while they didn’t realize that they were about to commit the same sin. v. 29-36. they acted like they would not have killed the prophets like their fathers did, yet, they were plotting to Kill the Christ… Don’t ever look at the outside world and think, “I would never do that!”

SO, why did we study this passage this week?

  1. It is what Jesus did when he got to Jerusalem. It is an often overlooked text in Holy week, but it was an important part of Jesus’ ministry. He was exposing something that Christians would need to fight against for all time, the tendency to look at our actions as what makes us right with God.
  2. It is aimed at people like us and we need to examine our lives as we prepare for Easter. We need to let Jesus get in our face about our religious activities, and challenge our view of Him.
  3. To remind us why Jesus Had to Die, we all have been Pharisees, and we all Need Jesus’ death in our place to be made right with God.

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