Matthew 23

Vs. 13, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites...”  Now that Jesus was in Jerusalem, he had quite a captive audience of disciples as well as Pharisee’s and teachers of the law.  Seven times Jesus would would point out the faults of the Pharisee’s and teachers of the law.  In fact, this would be the last public message before his death.  Question: Really?  A message of fire & brimstone?  Yep, it was time to rebuke the false teachers and warn the disciples as well as us the hypocrisy that surrounded their life.  Here’s a rundown of what the hypocrisy looked like: They were not practicing what they preached (vs. 3-4), They did it for recognition, not God (vs. 5-7), they put the focus on men rather than God (vs. 8-12), They tried to control the very gates of heaven (vs. 13-14), they led followers astray (vs. 15), they put their value in worldy oaths (vs. 16-22), they ignored God’s law (vs. 23-24), they put focus on the outside rather than the inside (vs. 25-26), they were empty morally on the inside (vs. 27-28), they judged their ancestors when they themselves were doing a worse action (vs. 29-32).  Not a very distinguished list, huh?

 

Regarding application…What times is it? Humble Time.  Vs. 12, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  Looking at the list of “woes”…I would like to think that I’m not guilty of any of these.  Yet, I find that I have acted just like the Pharisee’s and teachers of the law.  The more I measure myself to God’s word, the more humbled I am.  Going back to seminary is one of the most grueling and arduous things I have done.  God has a sense of humor and all those times I have not studied in the past…I’m making it up now.  As I venture down the road of Biblical & spiritual academia…I am humbled.  As you venture down reading the Bible everyday…allow His word to humble you.  Question: What good is it to read and not be moved?  Then you wasted your own time and God’s time.  As Jesus closes his message, O Jerusalem…O Jerusalem…I can’t help but think he’s saying that to us.  (Sigh~~~…Oh Youth Group…O Youth Group….how often I have longed to gather you together.”  It’s time brothers and sisters.  Turn to the Lord.

Jeremiah 23

Vs. 5, “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.”  No matter how dark the judgments of God are…there is always a light of hope!  Isn’t that amazing?  Whew…the grace of God is indesciable!  The remnant of Judah sent to Babylon must have been encouraged that God had not forsaken them even in their rebellion.  Of course, Jesus is the righteous Branch!  But we see God expose once again the false prophets of Jeremiah’s time as we continue on in this chapter.  Their prophecies, their behaivors,  their dishonesty, and their attitudes.

 

Regarding application…Responsibility.  Vs. 28b, “but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?”  This does not just apply to the prophets & priests of Jeremiah’s time…nor does it just apply to preachers & teachers of our time….it applies to everyone.  We all have the responsibility to know God’s word & to speak God’s words to others.  If the words are not like grain…they are like straw.  Grain represents food that can be eaten and nourishing…while straw cannot bring nourishment and is not real food.  Notice that we not only speak His Word…but we must speak it faithfully!  Faithfully implies persevarnce…faithfully implies doing it and not avoiding it…faithfully implies that we read His Word in order to share it…Faithfully implies that we are sharing it!  Question: What good is having God’s Word if we are not sharing it?  We all have this incredible responsibility…are you sharing it faithfully?  School is just around the corner…be ready to share!