19 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 23:29-36 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
29 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed. 30 Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’ 31 “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started. 33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell? 34 “Therefore, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law. But you will kill some by crucifixion, and you will flog others with whips in your synagogues, chasing them from city to city. 35 As a result, you will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time—from the murder of righteous Abel to the murder of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed in the Temple between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, this judgment will fall on this very generation. (Matthew 23:29–36 NLT)
We’ve been painfully working our way through Jesus’ passionate, prophetic rant against the religious leaders, religious teachers, and the Pharisees. In Matthew 23, Jesus pronounces on them “Seven Sorrows”:
Matthew 23:13 – Not letting others enter God’s Kingdom and not entering yourselves.
Matthew 23:15 – Converting people away from God to be like yourselves.
Matthew 23:16-22 – Leading people to follow man’s traditions instead of God’s Word.
Matthew 23:23-24 – Focusing on legal details and ignoring justice, mercy, and truth.
Matthew 23:25-26 – Keeping up appearances while your inner world is corrupt.
Matthew 23:27-28 – Acting spiritual to cover up your sin.
Matthew 23:29-36 – Condemning past sins of others, then doing the same things.
This is the end of Jesus’ efforts to lead them into the light of God’s Kingdom. He recognizes the hardening of their hearts, their determination to cling to their “truths” and finally reject the living “Truth” standing before them. The door of truth is open to all, but the door of opportunity will close when we or anyone else closes our ears to the message of Truth and our hearts to the Person of Jesus.
Father, What a lesson for us all! I pray for my friends and me that we will always keep our ears open, our hearts tender, and our wills submitted to Jesus Christ who alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. For the Kingdom’s sake! Amen.