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Daily Bible Verses | The Gospel Of Saint MatthewDaily Bible Verses For Lent

Daily Bible Verses For Lent | Scribes And Pharisees | Hypocrites | Jesus And Temple Judaism | True Faith | Audio KJV

Audio Bible | Lent | Jesus Denounces The Scribes & Pharisees

Christian Art | Jesus And Scribes And Pharisees | Jesus And Temple Judaism | Son Of God

Matthew 23: 1-12 – Lent 2, Tuesday; Week 20, Friday (King James Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)

1 THEN spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Through the Sermon in the Temple, Jesus’ attack on the Pharisees and the scribes who side with them is clear, hard and definitive. Their way of life is corrupt and vicious. They are blind guides and hypocrites. They will be condemned – ‘Woe to you’ – because they kill the true message of God through their failure of love, mercy, justice, faith. They are serpents who drag the people they preach to down with them.

Jesus’ attack on the scribes and Pharisees is motivated by his love and compassion and sorrow for the ordinary mass of people who are subjected to bad teaching, who have been abused, indeed hellishly bound, by the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus has come to free those ordinary people.

While Jesus recognizes that the scribes and Pharisees do have authority to teach the Law in the synagogues, this must be distinguished from the practical interpretations of the law to be seen in the lifestyles of these leaders of the Jewish people. It is there that their corruption shines blackly forth. They grotesquely abuse their position. They preach but they don’t practise what they preach. They are full of extortion and rapacity. They say and do not.

Their faith is insincere and it is lacking in love of God. The ‘phylacteries’ were belts or bands carrying quotations from Holy Scripture which would be worn fastened to the arms or forehead. The Pharisees wear broader phylacteries, because they need to try to prove to other people how religiously observant they are. (They will have their reward.)

Through Lent, we might look to Jesus’ condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees to see if in any way, no matter how slightly, we reflect anything about those whom Jesus condemns.

Jesus asks searching questions. He seeks to perfect his Jewish audience and his message shines through history to the Church. Do we always practise what we profess? Do we ever take advantage of others’ trust in us? Are we ever complacent? Do we love the place of honour and to be seen of men, when in our heart of hearts we know we haven’t really done anything that special? (Do we ever envy others their place of honour?) Do we ask our fellow humans to face too difficult demands, perhaps pushing them all the more because we ourselves are inadequate to tasks we face? Do we ‘tut-tut’ another then look in a mirror and fail to see ourselves?

Or do we love as Christ loved and give all as Christ gave all? Do we always serve and honour our fellow man? Probably we don’t. But it is humbling to know this and to try and try, to know that we are here to serve. We are here to give everything. Christ demands it. He says so explicitly. We are here to be perfect.

As he berates them, Jesus knows what the scribes and the Pharisees will cause to have done to him. He has come to Jerusalem to be crucified. His outrage in the Temple could become a despairing expression of tragedy were it not that it is Jesus speaking, and he is speaking on his way to the cross to absolve us of these very errors he speaks of. Through this biting satire on the corruption endemic and institutionalized in Jerusalem, the cross of our salvation continues to shine. This is, though, also the cry of a man, sharing in our humanity, who is going to die, and horribly. Jesus will lament all the lost opportunities as he moves closer to his saving death which was needed for all our sakes:

‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!’

King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version | Love Revealed By Jesus Christ | Endnotes

Radical Love | Jesus’ Revolutionary Message | Beyond Power And Hierarchy

In Matthew 23, in the Temple, Jesus delivers a scathing condemnation of the religious authorities of his time, accusing them of hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and neglecting the weightier matters of the law. Jesus’ message is radical, challenging the established religious and political order of his time, and calling for a fundamental shift in the way people thought about power, authority, and spirituality.

At the heart of Jesus’ message is radical love – love in such a way as exceeds and might even make a mockery of human understandings. Jesus emphasizes that the greatest commandment is to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself. This message of love is beyond religious observance and ritual purity, even beyond emphasizing the importance of treating others with compassion and kindness.

Jesus’ message of radical love challenges the hierarchical social structure of his time. Jesus rejects earthly titles and positions of authority, emphasizing the equality of all people before God. In his excoriating attack on the Jewish religious authorities, Jesus in a sense signs his own death warrant – and this of course becomes Jesus’ ultimate act of love, to give himself upon the Cross for our salvation, to make restitution for our sins through an act of purest love and self-sacrifice, through crucifixion.

In a sense then, this passage of the Gospels both teaches and enacts Jesus’ commandment – the teaching produces the outcome.

Jesus’ emphasis on radical love and equality is a call to action for his followers. Jesus calls Christians to serve others, enemies and friends, with humility and love, rather than seek positions of power and authority. This message has inspired countless people throughout history, from St. Francis of Assisi to Mahatma Gandhi.

As the apostle Paul wrote: ‘And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.’ (1 Corinthians 13:13, KJV)

Jesus’ message of radical love is a reminder that true power and authority come not from earthly status, but from a spirit of service and compassion towards others, and a complete reciprocation of the love of God.

Jesus Is Lord | Psalms | King James Audio Bible