The Seven Woes

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Joel shares about the seven woes that Jesus warned about in Matthew 23.


The Seven Woes

(Matthew 23)

By Joel Willoughby

I'm always looking for more donations as well. Someone's interested in that. I could talk to you about that, especially the end of the year coming up, giving Tuesday is Tuesday.

If you didn't know about that, talk to you about that stuff later. I'd rather talk about what's in Matthew 23. So let's make our way to the book of Matthew, the Gospel of Matthew.

Just the gospel according to Matthew, right? Because there's only one gospel. So this is the Gospel according to Matthew properly me, even though we say it the other way. I did want to give a bit of background.

I have a lot of notes here and I think it's just kind of cool to kind of have a running head start to get to our text in Matthew 23. Nothing too crucial for understanding Matthew 23. So I'm just going to run through it.

So don't really try to follow too closely along with the context here. But really starting back in Matthew 21 is where I'm going to kind of get the ball rolling here so we can kind of catch up with what's happening. But the organization of information in these gospel perspectives are actually very important.

It's a part of the teaching method. And so the idea is that not everything was actually in chronological order per se. There's lots of information that was left out.

So why do Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, why do they organize their information the way they do? It's very, very intentional. It is not accidental, of course, with the guiding of the Holy Spirit. Right.

This is inspired scripture, I understand that, but it's very intentional. And so that emphasizes even more because normal writers would do that. Now these have the inspiration of God, so that's even more intensified.

Matthew's primary focus is the Jewish audience. Each gospel perspective has a different focus. They all basically will talk through the same things, pointing out the life of Christ essentially.

But he really focuses on the Jewish audience and so goes through a lot of Jewish ish things. That's a tough one to say. I think I just made that word up too.

Okay, so Matthew 21, the idea here is that you have the triumphant entry Palm Sunday a big deal. Zechariah 99 talks about the Messiah coming in on this donkey and showing that he's coming in peace is the idea. He comes in as the Messiah.

And of course they're expecting all the rest of the things in Zechariah where he just destroys, obliterates all the enemies, not paying attention to the rest of Scripture. So then they kind of have this false idea of what's happening there. For a lot of them, Jesus curses the fig tree later in chapter 21, the idea of the fig tree is that it was supposed to produce fruit.

When a fig tree produces its leaves, it produces the fruit at the same time. So when you see the leaves, you expect fruit jesus was hungry. It would have been satisfying to have this fruit.

There was an expectation of there being fruit. He comes up to it and there was no fruit. It represents Israel in that they were supposed to be producing faith, faith in the Messiah.

They were supposed to accept Him as the promised offspring, the promised Messiah, the God man that would take away the sin of the world, all those references, but they did not. And so there was a curse there. It was withered, right? And of course, the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are still true.

It's very relevant in current events, right, but they're still true. And by the way, real quick commercial on that if the geographical line Israel were removed in this near future, god's word would still be true. There will always be the people Israel, and that's what God promises, for sure.

So you never know. We're on a stepping stone to the world stage here. But I don't know how many stepping stones there are in front of us.

It could be the last one, there could be a lot of them. We don't know. And so let's put things in perspective there.

But that was just a quick commercial on. I can talk to you more about that later if you want. So then he cleanses the temple.

I believe this would be for the second time, I think he did this early in the beginning of his ministry. And then now we're getting to the Passion week here. So he cleanses the temple again, he's exposing the religious leadership there we go.

For their greed, their pride, their corruption, all these things, and he curses his fig trees, as said. Then he shows to us these chief priests, these elders of Israel, they're interpreting sorry, interrupting this teaching, they're challenging his authority. And you have these different groups that are challenging his authority.

And it goes through all of this in detail. So then what does he do? He ends up telling these three parables. And he starts telling these parables quickly, the two sons, the tenets, the wedding feast.

He goes through this later on. This is going through even past our text here. We're running ahead.

So he gets into that, all of it, discourse and things, right? Okay, so let's pause, let's kind of come back to it. So what's going on? The Pharisees, they're scrambling, the Sadducees, all these different people, this lawyer, the Pharisees, are all scrambling to try to show that Christ is not the Christ, jesus is not the Messiah. They want to see his wisdom fail.

They want to see everything destroyed. This cannot be him. And what's really cool is when Jesus puts him to the test with Psalm 110, verse one.

Why does David call his offspring Lord, right? It can only be God. And so he goes through all these different things. And that's at the end of chapter 22 there.

So then we come to chapter 23. Our text kind of a cool stuff. He's really exposing the leadership that is important to know for our context and showing that he is the Messiah.

He is establishing himself. I am God. I am the promised messiah.

There is no doubt here. And then as people are listening and they see Him as an authority, he begins to totally destroy the evil leadership that they have currently. Not all their leadership was corrupt as an individuals, but the whole system was.

And largely all of them were largely they were the ones that had power, religious and political power in Israel, by the way, pharisees, that was a political party with Israel politics and religion, they're hand in hand. So you have to remember that. And so they were a political party.

They had control. They had the majority in the sanhedrin at the time, which was basically the ruling kind of like the Supreme Court of Israel, so to speak. They had the final word in all things for Israel and the way things should be done.

And so let's get to chapter 23, verse one here. Then Jesus said to the crowds, after all of that and establishing he is the Messiah, the offspring of David and things. Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, now look at the audience, okay? He's not talking to the Pharisees and scribes.

He's talking to the crowds and his disciples. Okay, that's important. Then verse two.

The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses'seat. In other words, they have that authority. They have the authority of saying, hey, this is the law.

And having that religious and political authority, everything Moses had. You think about that kind of that spot where one man Moses took. Now you have all these tons of guys, right? It's kind of interesting how that works.

But verse three, so because of this, do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. So at first it's kind of interesting because I think the Pharisees and scribes are probably they're sitting up straight, so to speak. They're beaming with happiness.

Hey, look at this. He says, we sit at most of the seat. That is correct.

Yeah. We have power, we have influence, we have fame. And then even says, do and observe whatever they tell you.

Boy, were they happy about this. They are super excited. But then he says, but not the works they do.

Oh, and he starts to give reasoning for this. He says, for they preach but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear.

In other words, it's back breaking. It's the idea of it's back breaking burden here and lay them on people's shoulders. But they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

They do all their deeds to be seen by others, for they make their Phalacrates broad and their fringes long. So the Phalacrates, where they would take a portion of Scripture and they would tie it onto their forehead, tie it onto their arms. What used to happen was it was a constant reminder to see it.

They would see the law, they would see these things and the constant reminder, oh, I need to follow the law, I need to obey God. It's all about God, it's not about me. I think there was a genuine, thoughtful, good thing that came from right.

But then what they did was they would make them bigger, broader, more beautiful. Now it's like jewelry, basically. These little, like, good luck charms, some amulets here.

And so they have it all over so they would look good. Wow, they're so spiritual. Do you see how broad their philacrates are? It's like the whole word here.

They're kind of showing off. Then their fringes, this was a command of scripture, to have these fringes, and it was blue. The idea was, well, it was just a reminder not to get into the weeds here a little bit.

But it was a good reminder basically of all of the law of God and who God is, his glory shining like the bright blue sky. So it's that blue fringe, that kind of a thing. But they would make them real big, make sure everyone sees, look what I got, I'm extra.

All about the light of God and things, just kind of needless things. Verse six, and they love the place of honor at feasts and best seats in the synagogues. The idea of that first place, the top seat, this is what they love.

They love it. It's not about worshiping God, it's not about relationship with God. It's about having that honor and fame, reputation, looking good in front of everybody.

Verse seven, what else do they love? And greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others so people would announce them. Well, Rabbi so and so is here honorable, great rabbi who teaches us all good things, some kind of flowery announcement, and they love it. Oh, yes.

I'm about to step into this room. Where's the announcer boy? Okay, here he is. Okay, come on.

Yeah, speak first. Right. That's what they were concerned about, that kind of things.

And they love being called rabbi, which means either mainly it's teacher, it could also mean master. They often go hand in hand. The teacher is the master, the master teaches.

Right. So it does go hand in hand. They love being having that title by others.

But verse eight, you are not to be called Rabbi, for you have one teacher and you are all brothers and call no man your Father on earth, for you have one Father who is in heaven. Okay, so it continues on verse ten, neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ, the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

So the idea is you say, well, I mean, we have, like, a Sunday school teacher. I do call him teacher. So am I guilty before God? The idea is that when we have a teacher in a Sunday school room or right now, I am teaching you, and you might say, hey, look at our teacher up there.

Okay? The difference is this I place the authority in the word of God. I place the authority on the person of God. I am gladly receiving correction if I am mishandling the word of truth.

That's not the case here. These people would take the place of God and say, this is what it means. And they would even add to scripture their traditions, their other extra laws and things.

They would add to it, and they would have equal authority with Scripture, with God himself. That was the problem. And so they were taking an undue place in their lives where only God should have that final authority.

So that's the difference there. And they understood what that meant. So now we start with these woes.

Okay, so just kind of a recap here. Jesus makes several accusations of the scribes and Pharisees. They preach but do not practice.

They are unloving to give unbearable burdens that they do not bear themselves, which is pretty crazy. They do things to be seen. They love being honored.

They love being worshipped. They love being served. So then he comes up with these seven woes, I think very intentionally.

Seven as it shows a complete judgment. And so he probably could have combined some things or had some other but it was seven to show a complete judgment. That word woe UI, it's anomanapia.

So an anomanapia is the word like buz, where it is, what it sounds like buz. So it means like, horrors. Whoa.

Horrors. So you think of something's like absolutely horrible. It's like the expression it may sound weird for us, but in the Hebrew language, I bet it was spot on.

Okay, so then he uses this every time, this interjection of grief, this huge, this grief here, and just anger mixed together. Grief and anger. It has this idea of denouncing this misery and pitying.

It so all those sort of ideas are in this one word. It's actually very complex, but I think just saying woe is actually pretty accurate. So woe to you.

You are doomed. You are to be pitied because of what is coming. That's the idea.

There will be pain. There will be misery because of your actions. This is the consequence.

All those things are wrapped up in there. So the first woe, that's verses 13 and 14. The first woe here, he says, whoop, I'm in the wrong place.

There we go. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees. Hypocrites.

For you tithe, mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faithfulness, these you ought to have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a GNAT and swallowing a camel. I love how Jesus does not pull back at all.

He just all out. He says it the way it is. I love it.

Okay, so just to identify this a little bit, tithing mint, dylan cumin. I've heard some people teach this and go, that's ridiculous. No, it actually was the law that was good.

This is what you're supposed to be doing. You were to tithe every single thing. It's actually a lesson for us even.

Not that tithing is not actually a part of our law today, but giving is. And that'd be a whole nother lesson on it. But I think we actually should be giving even more.

I think if you actually properly understand New Testament giving, 10% would be a good starter. But then you should give out of your abundance. You should give sacrificially.

We're not limited. We can give as much as we want. It's a gracious thing.

That's a whole nother lesson. Okay, but the idea is that they were supposed to be tithing off of every single thing they get in, not just the salary, the dollars coming in. Okay? So then he says, but you left out the most important stuff justice, mercy, faithfulness.

They weren't actually just they didn't show any mercy to people and they weren't faithful with the word of God. So then he says in verse 24, you blind guides. So they are the teachers, they are the leadership of Israel.

They are guiding them. They are supposed to anyway, supposed to be guiding them in the ways of God, to please God overall, to not just have that relationship with Him, but then to increase in the quality of that relationship over time. They're supposed to be guiding them, but they're blind because they don't even have that relationship with Him.

They don't even have it. So how are you guiding someone if you can't even see yourself? Spiritually speaking, of course. So then he gives this example, straining out a GNAT and swallowing a camel.

Why would you do that? Because you can't see, you're blind. So what's going on here? They would have remember, this is the Middle East, it's a whole lot different. They don't have the conveniences we have today.

And so they would have a drink and they're little nats sounds disgusting, but they would get into that drink and they could die or at least get trapped before they die. And so what they would do is they would take the time to get a sift and they would sift out to make sure all those gnats are gone because they can't have a dead thing. It's against the law.

They can't have a dead thing. They would be unclean, right? So they do all of that. But then it says they swallow the camel.

So the idea is that they're so careful to follow the law to that degree of actually straining their drink, but then they miss the whole point they miss the whole point of the law. What is the end of the law? It's christ right. That's what the Scripture tells us over and over again.

They missed the whole point. So this would be a good time to explain the word hypocrite. So hypocrite, if you do a little bit of a word study, you'll find out that it goes back to the times in Greek culture and things where you would have actors on a stage and they would put a face up, right? They put a face on like a mask, and that's just the word for actor.

So you would be in the audience and you'd say, oh, look at the wonderful hypocrites. And because they were good actors, they were acting like somebody else. It was not real, right? So it's that two faced kind of idea.

That's true. That's a true thing. But the actual full meaning of the word goes back further, okay? So that's just how that word was used at one point in history.

But that doesn't give you the full understanding, okay? So it's actually a compound word, two different words put together. The first one means under, and the second one means judgment. So when he says you are a hypocrite, what he's saying is this, that something has slipped below the radar under your judgment.

So judgment is that idea of discerning. You tell the difference between two things. So when they look at the law, they missed the point.

It went under the radar. And so the whole point of the law was relationship with God, a joyful life with Him, enjoying his blessings, doing his work, all at the same time. That's the whole point.

They would memorize the whole Torah, the first five books of the Bible. They would memorize that whole thing. A lot of these Pharisees and stuff, especially at the sanhedrin level, they would have the large majority of the Old Testament memorized completely, if not the whole thing, especially the scribes.

But did they understand the point of no, no, they did not. They missed it there. Jesus is fulfilling, literally fulfilling hundreds of prophecies.

Literally hundreds of prophecies, and they missed it. You hypocrites. What's the point of tithing, okay? It's not just to look cool in front of people.

The whole point was to make sure God's work was funded. You missed the point. Right? Okay, let's move on.

So a little extra time in that first one just explains some things there. So they're actually hindering people from entering the kingdom of heaven. It's an amazing thing.

There quite the accusation. It says woe to you. Did I read oh, I read the wrong one, didn't I? I jumped down and read oh, I'm sorry.

Instead of reading 13 and 14, I read 23 and 24 earlier. So that was probably really confusing to you. I'm sorry about that.

Yeah, okay. Anyways, so now we got a head start on the other one. So verses 13 and 14.

A lot of that still applies though. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees. This is for real.

Verse 13, hypocrites for you. Shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter go in.

Okay, so there we have it. The idea is that they are the ones that have scripture. A lot of these people did not have the written word.

They had to go to the temple or a synagogue to see the written word. Only the really rich people had the actual written word, like in their homes or something. And even then it wasn't all of it.

They just have some scrolls. Okay? So they would come to these people, hey, what does this mean? Or explain this to me, that kind of a thing. Well, they're not entering in.

They're not saved themselves, they're not entering the kingdom. And they also would hinder hold back people from going in because they teach them improperly, they teach them wrongly. They don't teach them the truth of scripture.

They don't teach what it means to have a relationship with God, what that requires faith, grace, things like that. They miss it all. They miss the point.

It's interesting. Here it says, well, I guess I'm not going to get into that. I will.

Okay, so there's a kind of a hidden woe here. Okay? So some manuscripts, the different translations will have this here after verse twelve or right here. They'll add it at the end of verse 14.

Say woe to you, scribes and Pharisees. Hypocrites for you devour widows houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers, therefore you receive the greater condemnation. Which is also mentioned in a couple of other verses.

If you're interested, you could write that down. Mark 1240, Mark 1240. And then the other one, Luke 20, verse 47.

That's where you can see that information somewhere else. Mark 1240 and Luke 20, verse 47. So that gets added in there.

So different translations will have that or not. And so you can think about that, if you will. But the idea with devouring widows houses, that was a real thing.

What they would do is these poor widows wouldn't have any more income coming in. They would get in some financial trouble and they said, okay, here's the deal. I'll take care of you.

I'll make sure all your needs are met, but you just got to sign over everything to me. And so then they would put them in these horrible living situations. They would take their house, they would take all their property, they would make money off of it, they would get rich off of this.

And they would just put them in like a group house or something where they had minimal living conditions. It was not good. And so they actually were not being loving and they really just wanted to make themselves rich.

But they tried to look good in front of people saying, hey, I'm taking care of widows. Isn't that crazy? So that was actually a real thing. It was actually a big deal there.

So woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for doing this, devouring widows houses and for a pretense you make long prayers. In other words, just for a show. Just for a show.

You do that. By the way, the only prayer ever criticized in scripture is a long prayer. That's an interesting thing.

That's another lesson. Okay? So they were totally focused on the temple treasury and the look of religion more than the love of people and the worship of God. That's a big deal.

Verse 15, you have the second woe here. Verse 15, it says, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte.

In other words, a disciple, a follower, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. Strong language there. The idea is this they go near and far to find these brightest and best.

Now? What did Jesus do? He found, basically, the rednecks of Galilee. That was eleven. Out of the twelve disciples, the only disciple that actually looked like he would make it was Judas.

He was the only one that was temple trained. He was the only one from Jerusalem. All the rest were these bums, these fishermen from Galilee.

So it's kind of an interesting thing, but they would go and try to find the brightest and best everywhere and they would disciple them and they would be so rigid about the law and their law and following these things and not actually following God in relationship. And so then that person tries to outdo their master and so they intensify it. And so they become even worse, even worse.

They're even more lost. They're even more rigid about rules and things. If there is a rule in the Bible, it is good to be rigid about it, but not neglecting mercy, grace, faithfulness, all those other things, justice, which they did, but they would also be rigid about rules that they made up, just traditions, things like that.

So they really were reproducing evil. Here, verses 16 through 22, you have your third Woe. Woe to you blind guides who say, if anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.

Woe. In other words, if you go to the temple and you make a promise, you're trying to get things right with God, you go, God, I am going to do this, whatever it is. If you don't follow through, they go, well, it's okay, just make some sacrifices, you're fine.

But then they say if they swear with the money, it has something to do with them getting more or less money in the treasury. Okay? Then they go, you better follow through. You promised you would give this much money, you better do it.

They'd throw them in the poor houses. They wouldn't just say, make some sacrifices, ask for forgiveness. They wouldn't say all that.

It would be, you better pay up, you're going to jail, you don't pay up. Right? So that's bad. That's not good.

They're missing the point. Once again. They're missing the point.

And so then going to verse 17, not just blind guides, but you blind fools. For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has been made? The gold has made the gold sacred. The idea is that the temple was where the presence of God was.

It's all about God. It's the temple that is greater. And who is greater than the temple? Remember, Jesus says someone is greater than the temples here.

God himself, right? So you have God, you have the place of God, then you have the finances of God. There's a tier system here, priorities. And they got it all mixed up.

They put the money up on top. What is a fool? A fool is someone that knows what's right, but they don't do it. They do the wrong thing anyways.

You're a fool, you know that the money is not as good as the presence of God, the temple of God. You know that. But they are consumed by greed.

Verse 18 and you say, if anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing but who and swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath. So more of the same there, you blind men. Verse 19 so guides, fools and men.

You blind men. For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it, and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears by it, and by him who dwells in it.

And whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by Him who sits upon it. It's not necessarily wrong to make an oath to God to promise something. I would not encourage it.

Ecclesiastes Five was very clear that when you approach the throne, you better guard the words that you speak. It is better to not make a vow than to make a vow and not keep it. Scripture is very clear about these things.

God even says christ even says in his teachings, he says, let your yes be yes, your no be no. It's not all about these oaths. The whole point of the oath was you are untrustworthy.

So the people that say, I promise, I swear. When people say that, you know what that means? They're not trustworthy. If someone was trustworthy, they don't have to say that.

They just say, I'm going to do this. And people go, okay, great. You ever notice that? And so really, it's not an ideal practice, but sometimes I need an extra incentive to do what I.

Know is right. And so I may make a promise to God. God, I promise I'm going to do this, and it helps me follow through, perhaps.

And if I don't, that is a time of confession and repentance, right? And so you make that right. So you have to handle that correctly. But they are blind guides, blind fools and blind men.

They misguided people about things and not God. They recognize the gold to be greater than the temple, and they teach the gift is greater than the worship of giving. They messed up big time.

We have a fourth woe in verses 23 and 24. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. And this is what I thought was the first woe, but I'll read it for you again.

For you, tithe mence and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faithfulness, these you ought to have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a GNAT and swallowing a camel. And so, once again, they are called hypocrites.

Here tithing every detail. It's essential under the law. But they're not valuing the attributes of God.

They're called blind guides. They filter nats from the drinks. They don't eat those dead things.

They swallow that camel whole. They focus on the details and miss the big point. I love Bible study, and you do need to focus on details, but if you focus on details correctly, it only culminates into the big point of the passage.

But don't go into all the academic parts of it, but then not look at the whole picture at the same time. That's the part of the piece of the puzzle, so to speak. Then we have verses 25 and 26.

This is the fifth woe. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees. Hypocrites for you.

Clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first, clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. This is a pretty obvious application here, but so essential.

They are all about those Phalacrates, the fringes. They're all about being seen in the temple with the long prayers in the marketplace to be announced, to be called rabbi and teacher, to be seen publicly doing religious things. This is their goal.

It's the outside of the cup. It sure does look good. And remember, God says right in the beginning of this, jesus says, hey, do what they say, because they're teaching the law.

Observe, observe this. Follow the law. That's good.

The God's commands. That's a wonderful thing. But they are missing the whole point.

Okay, so then we come into verses 29 through 36. This is the last part. This is the 7th woe.

He really hits it home. Now it's big stuff, and there's actually, depending on the time, I have a little bonus at the end of this. But we'll see what time it is at the end, so don't get too excited about leaving.

Ha, okay? Verses 29 through 36, the 7th woe. Okay, here we go. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees.

Hypocrites. For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, if we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets. Thus you witness against yourself that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

Wow. Fill up then the measure of your fathers. And he goes on with another accusation.

But let's understand that for a brief moment here. You build, you put lots of finances, work, effort, you give a lot of attention to these tombs that hold the prophets. You're honoring them now.

I think it's a women of God that have really served. They've been faithful. God's used them, especially prophets, right? They were the mouthpiece of God.

They gave us scripture. That's a big deal. Let's honor that.

That's a good thing. That's not so bad. Okay? But they build these big, beautiful tombs for the prophets, but they're the ones responsible for murdering them.

What in the world? You look at all the prophets, what did Jesus say? He goes, yeah, Israel, you murder every prophet. You murder every prophet God sends to you. Isn't that crazy? Now, that's kind of a little bit of an embellishment, but you have like, someone like Jonah, right? Well, they didn't murder Jonah.

Jonah was actually their hero, I think, until it was I think it was 2014, perhaps. Until then, they still had the tomb of Jonah out there, and I think it was Samaria. And they really honored Jonah.

Why? Read the minor prophet Jonah? He was super Hebrew, right? He was to his own detriment. You talk about like one of the Pharisees here. Jonah did not love people, and that was his big problem.

He did not have mercy. Jonah's all about mercy, and he did not have this mercy. He came back as a hero in Israel because he hated Nineveh, he hated Assyria, and he didn't want to do anything for them, and he wanted them to be doomed.

He wanted them to fail. He did everything he could to make sure they fail. The sermon he preached to them, at least what's recorded in scripture is only five words in Hebrew.

That's it, five words. The most minimalist message he could have possibly have done. He did not want them to repent.

Remember, he sat up and he watched the city, and he wanted to just watch fire come down from heaven. And he was so sad that it didn't. What a messed up guy, right? Not too far from some of us, sometimes, I think.

But the idea is that's the same line of reasoning here, these Pharisees are just like their fathers. That's what Jesus is pointing out. You're just like your fathers, the ones that murdered the prophets, he said, oh, we wouldn't have done that.

Yes, you would have. You would have. And you know how he knows it? You know what the proof is? They murdered Jesus.

They murdered Jesus at the end. They had him crucified. They wouldn't settle for anything less.

They'd rather have Barabbas released. And they wanted Jesus to be not just murdered, cruelly murdered, the crucifixion. And so then he knows that's what they would do.

There's no guesswork there at all. So then verse 32, fill up then the measure of your fathers. In other words, you better stand up to it.

You would have. So you need to admit what you have done, and you need to have the consequences for what you would do, because your hearts are the same, your actions are the same. So in verse 33, he says, you serpents, you brood of vipers.

How are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Whoa, you talk about some harsh words. I love it. Okay, so they're serpents.

They're a brood of vipers. And so viper is actually a very broad term. There are over 200 species of vipers.

And so some of these we know pretty popularly. But vipers, they attack aggressively. Now, there are some in the family of vipers that are actually pretty docile, but that's not what Jesus is pointing out here.

I don't think that's what he is referring to, this rare species of viper that's actually kind of tame. I don't think that's what he's referring to. But they are known for largely they attack aggressively when they bite, most of them, the overwhelming majority of them, they're venomous, and when they bite, they don't let go.

They latch on to inject the full amount of so then they often lead to painful deaths. I mean, often you will die. Remember when Paul, there's a viper that came out of the fire and it latched onto him.

He wouldn't let go. So then the people of, I think it was Malta, the people there, they just kind of watched him to see when he dropped dead, and when he didn't, they go, oh, wow, it must be something to this guy. Kind of an interesting story there.

So they don't let go. It leaves a painful death. So you think about how this applies to Pharisees, as they keep injecting their teachings into these people.

They will die if they really buy into everything the Pharisees are saying, they will not have saving grace. They won't. And it leads to a painful death, and they attack aggressively.

You must listen to me. You must hear what I say. Don't listen to anybody else.

I don't care what you thought you read in the Torah the other day. You listen to how I explain it. Whoa.

Right. That's how they were. That's how they were.

And it's really sad. In vipers, they also multiply quickly. I think that's also a relevant point.

Maybe some of this. I'm stretching, but I think God had an accurate illustration. I think he called them vipers for reasons, and I think these are the reasons.

And maybe there's more or less out there you can decide for yourself. But they multiplied quickly. Remember, he talked about they went near and far.

They're always looking for those proselytes. They wanted to make disciples. Make disciples.

Call me Rabbi. I want more people to call me Rabbi. I'm going to make you just like me.

They multiply quickly. So a few popular viper species that you probably have heard about is rattlesnakes, cotton mouths, copperheads, those all would be in that line there. Who knows what rattlesnakes, right? Everybody knows rattlesnakes.

Okay, what about cotton mouths? You guys know cottonmouths? Anybody? Okay. I know having lived in the south and parts of the east and things like that, you have a lot more one of the great things about living in the north, you have a whole lot less venomous things. By the way, do you guys know that? That's pretty awesome, isn't it? Down south everything will kill you.

All the tropical environments and things like that. Copperheads. Yeah.

Watch out. You look at a snake and huh its head's kind of a rusty color, just run away. Okay? Our policy my dad always had snakes and reptiles.

Our policy was if it's venomous, kill it, if it's not, take it home. That's basically how it went. So anyways, getting off track here a little bit, but let's continue on.

We're going through verse 36 here. So then we'll go to verse 34. Therefore, because of all of that, therefore I send you prophets.

So this is Jesus talking, isn't it? Jesus is taking that, no doubt about it. He's saying, I'm yahweh, I've done this the whole time. I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth.

From the blood of righteous Abel, way back when, to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barakiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these will come upon this generation. And when he says this generation, there's some people that kind of they disagree on what generation is.

They say, hey, look, that's a people group and a timeline, right? I think there is another application of that word that's not as popular. And it's like you type of people. In other words, it's the quality of that person.

It's that type of person. Not so much that it is this age of people, not necessarily so. You can think about that yourself and check into that.

But that's how I would take it. So you type of people here, that's the idea. You pharisees, you scribes, and people that are like you and people that follow you truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation death and destruction.

And of course, the Rome came in and destroyed the temple in 80, 70, stuff like that. But I don't think it's just that. I think that's a lot more.

I think it's talking about spiritual destruction. I think it's talking about the ultimate eternal torment kind of idea. So Jesus prophesied the coming destruction of these Jewish leaders because they rejected God himself.

And that is it. It's all over. You are not under the wrath of God anymore.

When you by grace, trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior through faith, knowing what his work on the cross did for you, blood washing away the sin, and his death on the cross, taking your place, checking the time. Okay, here's the other part. I'll just share this with you just to finish up the chapter here, okay? It's chapter 23.

So verses 37 through 39. O jerusalem jerusalem. Matthew puts this here right on purpose, okay? O Jerusalem, jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones, those who are sent to it.

How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings? And you are not willing? See, your house is left to you, desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, bless is he who comes in the name of the Lord. In other words, you have to trust in the Messiah.

The nation, it's doomed for this time being. But individuals can always trust in God, and it's only the time being, because God still holds true to his Abrahamic and Davidic covenants. There is a future place for the physical nation of Israel.

Still. God will be true to his promises. And of course, the ultimate fulfillment in this is you can read about the end of Zechariah, particularly, but at the Second Coming, those that are left, the ones that have not yet died, the remnant, they all look to Jesus in the Second Coming and believe, which is amazing.

So at that moment, 100% of the nation, Israel right there actually believe. That's a cool thing. So that's where that happens.

See, Mourns for Jerusalem. His heart aches for them. And I would challenge you, let hearts ache for people, even like Pharisees and scribes.

Did Jesus'heart ache for them? Yes, it did. Yes, it did. Sometimes we can get to the point where we read passages like this and we criticize the Pharisee, and we criticize the Pharisee, and all of a sudden we realize, wait a minute, now I am one.

I'm actually doing the same thing that I'm hating. I'm nitpicking their life, and I'm showing how sinful they are, and I'm not focusing on myself, right? That's the unrepentant pharisee. We don't want to be like that.

What we want to do is we want to come to Scripture, and we want to come to a place before god where we say, I read this and go, man, am I like that? Am I like a blind guide? Am I a blind fool? Am I a blind person here? Am I being a hypocrite? Am I missing the point? What's the point of church? What's the point of life? What's the point of relationships? What's the point of having kids, having a spouse? What's the point? Don't miss the big point in all this stuff. Why do I do and don't do anything? Anything, analyze everything. Why do I do it? Maybe we're missing the big point.

Not in everything, but in some things there's sometimes that I would maybe get really super focused on something I have to do. Maybe we have to go this one place on this one day, at this one time we have to. And do you really, though, like, I got to go get a Christmas tree on this day.

If I don't, my whole life's ruined. Are we missing the big point? Just little things like that. We can think about our agendas, our schedules and what we have going on.

And of course this leads right into the olivet discourse goes right into the olivet discourse and showing that ultimate end to everything. So don't let things slip under the radar. Acknowledge the messiah and everything.

Are we missing the point of everything that we do something to dwell on today? Let me pray for us and we can be finished here. Heavenly Father, I thank you for this day. Thank you for being very careful with your words, being very honest and blunt with your words in Scripture, how it cuts to the heart.

I thank you for it because if I was not cut to the heart and convicted, challenged by these things, I would not conform to the image of your Son anymore. I thank you for still working with me, still working with us, that you would discipline when necessary, that you even give us trials when necessary, challenges and things. I thank you for that.

It shows your love to us. It shows that you are not going to let us just stay in the position that we are in, but you will allow us to be more like you and work in us to do that. I pray that today we would have some good heart analysis, that we would look at our own selves, not look around at others or the political systems or the religious systems or anything like that.

But we would just look at ourselves and think, where are we at? Are we missing the big point in everything? The big point of having relationship with you, in everything that we do, whether we eat, we drink, whether we say we speak, we think, whatever it is, I pray that it would be to your glory, to your honor, and just be in the joy of Your presence. I pray that we'd focus on the hope that is in you and we think eternally, we're heavenly minded. And that we even look at other people that way, seeing the value of a soul and the big point of the existence of those that are around us at any given time.

We thank you for the wisdom that you give us in Scripture. We love you. Thank you for loving us first.

In Jesus name, amen.

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