Coming of the King: Week 48
Matthew 23:1-22: The First Woes of the Pharisees
A Description of the Pharisees
- 23:2 "they seat themselves in Moses' seat" - the Priests and
Levites and judges had authority to decide difficult
The Pharisees added Tradition, and this is why the
Sadduccees opposed them.
- 23:4 "heavy burdens" - the Law of Moses was difficult, but
the Pharisees had loopholes.
- 23:5 "all their works they do for to be seen of men"
- 23:8 "call no man Rabbi/Father/Lord" - while Catholics like to quote
Matthew 16:18 to support their church structure,
Protestants like to quote 23:8-12.
- 23:12 "he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" -
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that in due
time He may exalt you."
1 Peter 5:6
"But He gives us more grace."
"He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble."
The First Woe
- 23:13 "you shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces" - they taught
that "respectability" and self righteousness were the way
to heaven. When someone came to the end of their rope, like
the tax collector in the parable, and cried out to God for mercy,
the Pharisee said, "Ha! A dirty beggar like you will never
be able to enter heaven."
The Second Woe
- 23:14 "you devour widow's houses" - this verse is missing
from some manuscripts, but is present in
Mark 12:40 and
While making a great show of generosity toward the poor, they
were all too willing to foreclose on poor widows.
The Third Woe
- 23:15 "you make your converts more wicked than yourselves" - Jews
today avoid proselytizing.
The Fourth Woe
- 23:16 "you swear by the gold, but not the temple" - the Pharisees did not
hold sacred anything spiritual, or anything material but common. They
held sacred only outward signs of wealth.