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Matthew 23

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Matthew 23 was the last public dialogue of Jesus, a great condemnation of the Scribes and the Pharisees (Also see Mark 12:38-40 and Luke 20 :45-47).

The enemies of Jesus could not answer Him a word, nor did anyone ever again dare to ask Him anything. But the great crowd of people went on hearing Him gladly. The Pharisees were unrepentant, hypocritical, and more determined than ever to seek His destruction. In His final public discourse in the Temple, it was fitting that He should warn His disciples against the hypocrisy of these corrupt and wicked men. Even while He denounced their spiritual blindness, ritualism, and wickedness, He wept over Jerusalem, and ended His discourse with a lamentation, addressed to the beloved but doomed city which had sinned away its day of opportunity.

This is one of the discourses recorded almost exclusively by Matthew. The introduction presents a vivid portrait .of the Scribes and the Pharisees. There was a group of disciples around Him, and on the outskirts of the group were His enemies.


Matt 23 with Notes

  1. Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,

  2. saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. DOCUMENT.gif

  3. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.

  4. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. DOCUMENT.gif

  5. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.

  6. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,

  7. greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.'

  8. "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.

  9. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

  10. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.

  11. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.

  12. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. DOCUMENT.gif

  13. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. DOCUMENT.gif

  14. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. DOCUMENT.gif

  15. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. DOCUMENT.gif

  16. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.'

  17. "Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?

  18. And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.'

  19. "Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

  20. Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.

  21. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it.

  22. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. DOCUMENT.gif

  23. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

  24. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! DOCUMENT.gif

  25. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.

  26. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. DOCUMENT.gif

  27. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

  28. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. DOCUMENT.gif

  29. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,

  30. and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.'

  31. "Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

  32. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' guilt.

  33. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? DOCUMENT.gif

  34. Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,

  35. that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

  36. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. DOCUMENT.gif

  37. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

  38. See! Your house is left to you desolate;

  39. for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'" DOCUMENT.gif

    Jesus then passed into the spacious court of the Women, fifteen feet below, and sat down in the Temple Treasury.

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The Pharisees - Jewish Leaders in the New Testament.

The Pharisees Overview of the Pharisees The Name Pharisee Origin of the Pharisees Brief History of the Pharisees Teaching of the Pharisees Influence of the Pharisees Practices of the Pharisees Dress, Clothing, and Appearance of the Pharisees Traditions of the Pharisees Jesus and the Pharisees Conclusion -  the Pharisees Bible Dictionaries - the Pharisees Bible Encyclopedias - The Pharisees Historical Quotes about the Pharisees

Name

"Pharisee" is from a Greek word (pharisaios) taken from the Heb/Aramaic "Perisha" meaning "Separated one." In the time of Jesus the Pharisees were one of the three chief Jewish sects, the others were the Sadducees and the Essenes. Of the three, the Pharisees were the most separated from the ways of the foreign influences that were invading Judaism, and from the ways of the common Jewish people in the land.

The Pharisee

"There was probably no town or village inhabited by Jews which had not its Pharisees, although they would, of course, gather in preference about Jerusalem with its Temple, and what, perhaps would have been even dearer to the heart of a genuine Pharisee--its four hundred and eighty synagogues, its Sanhedrims (great and small), and its schools of study. There could be no difficulty in recognising such an one. Walking behind him, the chances were, he would soon halt to say his prescribed prayers. If the fixed time for them had come, he would stop short in the middle of the road, perhaps say one section of them, move on, again say another part, and so on, till, whatever else might be doubted, there could be no question of the conspicuousness of his devotions in market-place or corners of streets. There he would stand, as taught by the traditional law, would draw his feet well together, compose his body and clothes, and bend so low "that every vertebra in his back would stand out separate," or, at least, till "the skin over his heart would fall into folds" (Ber. 28 b). The workman would drop his tools, the burden-bearer his load; if a man had already one foot in the stirrup, he would withdraw it. The hour had come, and nothing could be suffered to interrupt or disturb him. The very salutation of a king, it was said, must remain unreturned; nay, the twisting of a serpent around one's heel must remain unheeded." – Alfred Edersheim

Origin and History

The sect of Pharisees is thought to have originated in the 3rd century B.C., in days preceding the Maccabean wars, when under Greek domination and the Greek effort to Hellenize the Jews, there was a strong tendency among the Jews to accept Greek culture with its pagan religious customs. The rise of the Pharisees was a reaction and protest against this tendency among their fellow kinsmen. Their aim was to preserve their national integrity and strict conformity to Mosaic law. They later developed into self-righteous and hypocritical formalists. Later they were among those who had condemned Jesus to death.

How fearfully the prophecy of destruction that Jesus had foretold was fulfilled! In a few brief years the Roman legions of the Emperor Titus utterly destroyed the city and its glorious Temple. Over a million Jews perished in the siege in a few days, and a hundred thousand more were taken away in captivity.

Without its marvelous Temple, the Jewish religion was forced to take on a new character, and after the final Jewish rebellion (132 A.D.) all hope of rebuilding the Temple was lost, and the work of these rabbis took a different direction.

The Mishnah, compiled by the Patriarch Judah (200 A.D.), which is the final work of these rabbis, began a final work in the history of Jewish scholarship. It is a monument of Pharisaic scholarship and a testimony to the final triumph of Pharisaism, which now is compiled into the Talmud which has become synonymous with Judaism.

Jesus and the Pharisees


The Pharisees were the most numerous and influential of the religious sects of Jesus’ day. The were strict legalists. They stood for the rigid observance of the letter and forms of the Law, and also for the Traditions. There were some good men among them, no doubt, but for the most part they were known for their covetousness, self-righteousness and hypocrisy.

Scribes were copyists of the Scriptures and because of their minute acquaintance with the Law they became recognized authorities. They were sometimes called "lawyers." Scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders of the nation.

The incredible influence of the Pharisees among the masses cannot be mistaken. The were the most honored in Judaism at the time of Christ. When Christ won the favor of the people.

"But the great crowd of people went on hearing Him gladly."

The Words spoken by Jesus in Matt 23 constitute the most bitter denunciation that ever fell from His lips. The enemies of Jesus could not answer Him a word, nor did anyone ever again dare to ask Him anything. The Pharisees were unrepentant, hypocritical, and more determined than ever to seek His destruction. In His final public discourse in the Temple, it was fitting that He should warn His disciples against the hypocrisy of these corrupt and wicked men. Even while He denounced their spiritual blindness, ritualism, and wickedness, He wept over Jerusalem, and ended His discourse with a lamentation, addressed to the beloved but doomed city which had sinned away its day of opportunity.

The Paradox of the Pharisees

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Introduction

Overview

The Name

Their Origin

Their History

Their Teaching

Their Influence

Their Practices

Their Dress

Their Traditions

Jesus and the Pharisees

Bible Dictionaries

Bible Encyclopedias

Scriptures

Historical Quotes

Conclusion

The Paradox of the Pharisees

 


The Pharisees

Bible History Online