119 Jesus condemns the religious leaders.

Genesis 4:8; Numbers 15:38; Deuteronomy 6:8; 2 Chronicles 24:20–21; Psalm 118:26; Matthew 23:1–36; Mark 12:38–40; Luke 20:45–47

What did the Pharisees do that was not a part of Moses’ Law (Matthew 23:1–7)?

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How effective is the statement: “Do as I say, not as I do” (Matthew 23:3)?

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What do people do today in an effort to be noticed (Matthew 23:5)?

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Is there anything wrong with wanting to be recognized (Matthew 23:6–8)?

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How much credit should be given to God for our achievements (Matthew 23:9–10)?

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When Christians strive for excellence, what should they do (Matthew 23:11–12)?

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How were the Pharisees and teachers of the Law creating barriers to the Kingdom (Matthew 23:13)?

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What is gained and lost through hypocrisy (Matthew 23:14)?

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Christians are sometimes condemned for their hypocrisy. Why might they be viewed in that way (Matthew 23:14)?

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When hypocritical people make converts, what happens (Matthew 23:15)?

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Why hypocritical people make converts, what happens (Matthew 23:15)?

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Why isn’t a tithe sufficient (Matthew 23:23)?

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What does it mean to “choke on a gnat but swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:24)?

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How is the outside clean when the inside is clean, but the inside isn’t clean when the outside is (Matthew 23:25–26)?

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Are appearances really that deceiving (Matthew 23:27–28)? Why or why not?

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What happens when we fail to take a stand against wrongdoing (Matthew 23:29–31)?

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Why were God’s prophets, philosophers, and teachers killed (Matthew 23:32–36)?

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Jesus said to the crowd and to his followers, “The Pharisees and teachers of the Law are telling you what Moses says you should do. You may do what they teach, but do not copy what they do,because they do not practice what they teach. They place unbearably heavy burdens on others but will carry none of the weight themselves. What they do is intended to gain admiration from the people. They put long tassels on their robes and wear big prayer boxes containing scriptures, making them large so people will see them. At feasts and in the synagogues, they love the seats of honor. In the marketplaces, they seek respectful greetings and love to be called Teacher or Master.

Eyewitness

Numbers 15:38 Tell the people of Israel throughout their generations to make fringes on the hems of their garments, attached with a blue cord.
Deuteronomy 6:8 Tie these words to your wrists and foreheads so you won’t forget them.
Matthew 23:1–7 Jesus said to the crowd and to his followers, “The Pharisees and teachers of the Law are telling you what Moses says you should do. You may do what they teach, but do not copy what they do, because they do not practice what they teach. They place unbearably heavy burdens on others but will carry none of the weight themselves. What they do is intended to gain admiration from the people. They put long tassels on their robes and wear big prayer boxes containing scriptures, making them large so they will be seen. At feasts and in the synagogues, they love the seats of honor. In the marketplaces, they seek respectful greetings and love to be called Teacher or Master.
Mark 12:38–39 While teaching, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the Law who wear luxurious robes and love to be recognized in the marketplace. At feasts and in the synagogues, they love the seats of honor.
Luke 20:45–46 With everyone listening, Jesus said to his followers, Watch out for the teachers of the Law who wear luxurious robes and love to be recognized in the marketplace. At feasts and in the synagogues, they love the seats of honor.
King James

Numbers 15:38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:
Deuteronomy 6:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
Matthew 23:1–7 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 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. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
Mark 12:38–39 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
Luke 20:45–46 Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;

“Do not let people praise you as someone especially to be admired, because you are all brothers and sisters under one Master. Do not recognize any human being as the one who gave you life, because you have only one true Father, who is in Heaven. Do not let people praise you as their teacher, because you all have one teacher, who is the Messiah.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:8–10 “Do not let people praise you as someone especially to be admired, because you are all brothers and sisters under one Master. Do not recognize any human being as the one who gave you life, because you have only one true Father, who is in Heaven. Do not let people praise you as their teacher, because you all have one teacher, who is the Messiah.
King James

Matthew 23:8–10 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

“Whoever is the greatest among you must be everyone’s servant. Those who try to make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:11–12 “Whoever is the greatest among you must be everyone’s servant. Those who try to make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
King James

Matthew 23:11–12 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

“How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You block the door to the Kingdom of Heaven, not entering yourselves and preventing others who would like to get in.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:13 “How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You block the door to the Kingdom of Heaven, not entering yourselves and preventing others who would like to get in.
King James

Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

“How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! Because you take advantage of widows while making long prayers to appear righteous, you will be punished most severely.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:14 “How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! Because you take advantage of widows while making long prayers to appear righteous, you will be punished most severely.
Mark 12:40 “Because they take advantage of widows while making long prayers to appear righteous, they will be punished most severely.”
Luke 20:47 “Because they take advantage of widows while making long prayers to appear righteous, they will be punished most severely.
King James

Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Mark 12:40 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
Luke 20:47 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

“How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You cross land and sea, looking for converts. And when you find them, you make them twice the children of hell that you are.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:15 “How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You cross land and sea, looking for converts. And when you find them, you make them twice the children of hell that you are.
King James

Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

“How terrible it will be for you blind leaders who say, ‘Swearing an oath by the Temple means nothing, but those who swear by the gold in the Temple must keep their promises.’ You blind fools. Which is more important, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? You say, ‘Swearing by the altar means nothing, but those who swear by the gift on the altar must keep their promises.’ You blind fools. Which is more important, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Swearing by the altar is swearing by it and everything on it. Swearing by the Temple is swearing by it and everything within. Swearing by Heaven is swearing by the throne of God and the one sitting there.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:16–22 “How terrible it will be for you blind leaders who say, ‘Swearing an oath by the Temple means nothing, but those who swear by the gold in the Temple must keep their promises.’ You blind fools. Which is more important, the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? You say, ‘Swearing by the altar means nothing, but those who swear by the gift on the altar must keep their promises.’ You blind fools. Which is more important, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Swearing by the altar is swearing by it and everything on it. Swearing by the Temple is swearing by it and everything within. Swearing by Heaven is swearing by the throne of God and the one sitting there.
King James

Matthew 23:16–22 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

“How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You give a tenth of your mint, dill, and cumin, but you neglect the most important parts of the Law, like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should not do the one while neglecting the other. You blind leaders. You choke on a gnat but swallow a camel.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:23–24 “How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You give a tenth of your mint, dill, and cumin, but you neglect the most important parts of the Law, like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should not do the one while neglecting the other. You blind leaders. You choke on a gnat but swallow a camel.
King James

Matthew 23:23–24 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

“How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You wash the outside of cups and platters, but you leave the inside dirty, full of greed and wickedness. You blind Pharisees. First clean the inside. Then the outside will also be clean.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:25–26 “How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You wash the outside of cups and platters, but you leave the inside dirty, full of greed and wickedness. You blind Pharisees. First clean the inside. Then the outside will also be clean.
King James

Matthew 23:25–26 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

“How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look great on the outside but are full of dead men’s bones and rottenness. In the same way, you appear to be righteous but are actually full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:27–28 “How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look great on the outside but are full of dead men’s bones and rottenness. In the same way, you appear to be righteous but are actually full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
King James

Matthew 23:27–28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

“How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and raise monuments to the righteous. You say, ‘If we had lived back then, we would not have acted like our ancestors, killing the prophets.’ You testify against yourselves, that you are children of those who murdered the prophets.

Eyewitness

Matthew 23:29–31 “How terrible for you Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and raise monuments to the righteous. You say, ‘If we had lived back then, we would not have acted like our ancestors, killing the prophets.’ You testify against yourselves, that you are children of those who murdered the prophets.
King James

Matthew 23:29–31 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

“Go ahead and complete the work your ancestors started. You venomous snakes. How will you escape God’s judgment? Listen. I will send you prophets, philosophers, and teachers. You will stone some and crucify others. As they go from town to town, you will ridicule them in your synagogues and have them flogged. From the murder of Abel in the beginning to Zechariah who died between the altar and the Temple sanctuary, the righteous blood that has been shed on the earth will be charged against this generation.”

Eyewitness

Genesis 4:8 Cain said to Abel, his brother, “Let’s go for a walk.” When they were alone in the field, Cain attacked Abel and killed him.
2 Chronicles 24:20–21 When Zechariah, son of the priest Jehoiada, was standing before the people, the Holy Spirit came upon him. “God says, ‘Why do you disobey my commandments, making it impossible for you to prosper? Since you have forsaken him, he has forsaken you.'” At the king’s command, the people gathered in the Temple court and stoned Zechariah.
Matthew 23:32–36 “Go ahead and complete the work your ancestors started. You venomous snakes. How will you escape God’s judgment? Listen. I will send you prophets, philosophers, and teachers. You will stone some and crucify others. As they go from town to town, you will ridicule them in your synagogues and have them flogged. From the murder of Abel in the beginning to Zechariah who died between the altar and the Temple sanctuary, the righteous blood that has been shed on the earth will be charged against this generation.
King James

Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
2 Chronicles 24:20–21 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord.
Matthew 23:32–36 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.