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Jesus Exposes Scribes and Pharisees,

Detailing Their Hypocrisy

(Chapter 23, verses 1-36)

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     (1) After stunning the scribes and Pharisees into silence Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying: (2) "Because of their keen and accurate knowledge of the Mosaic Law the scribes and Pharisees have assumed the authority of Moses, and have effectively sat in his judgment seat. (3) Therefore, hear what they have to say and follow their instructions, but don't do what they do because they say the right things but don't do them. (4) They secure heavy burdens and hoist them upon the common man's shoulders while they don't even give a thought to nudging them with their finger. (5) They're motivated to do good works in public so as to receive praise from others; knowing that they'll have the public's attention they "supersize" the otherwise small leather cases-strapped on the forehead and the back of the hand-that scripture verses are inserted into; and their tassels look like they're on steroids. (6) They like sitting in the "Very Important Person" (VIP) section at elaborate dinning affairs, or in the synagogues or other places of worship. (7) If you see them at the mall or market places they expect people to address them with a high-sounding religious title from "Rabbi" to "Right Reverend." (8) But, don't go by such titles. Only one is your ultimate religious leader (that would be me), and all of you are brothers. (9) And in this religious context, don't call anyone "Father" here on earth-again, in a religious sense. You already have a "Daddy," and he's in heaven. (10) Neither be called "great master teacher-guides," for your "Great Master Teacher-Guide" here on earth is one, the Christ. (11) If you want to become the greatest among your brothers become their slave. (12) Whoever greedily seeks greatness will suffer the embarrassment of humiliation. Intriguingly, though, whoever, through self-discipline, genuinely humbles himself, greatness for him will be inescapable.

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     (13) "Damn you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You slam shut the gate leading to the kingdom of the heavens that was open to all men; you don't go in, and you prevent those on their way in to go in. (14) ---.

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     (15) "Damn you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You sail the open sea and cross dry land to make one convert. As wicked as you are, you made him you times two! In effect, you've created someone who'll reach Gehenna twice as fast as you.

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     (16) "Be damned, spiritually sightless tour guides, who declare, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it can be brushed off; but if anyone swears by the gold in the temple, take him seriously.' (17) Spiritually blind morons! Which one is more important, the gold or the temple that has sanctified the gold? (18) Also, you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, don't worry about it; but if anyone swears by the expensive gift on it, he has to pay up.' (19) Spiritually blind people! Which is more important, the expensive gift or the altar that makes the gift holy? (20) Therefore, the person that swears by the altar swears by it and everything on it; (21) and the person that swears by the temple swears by it and him who inhabits it; (22) and the person that swears by heaven itself swears by God's throne, and God who sits on that throne.

     (23) "Damn you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! [Why do I say this?] Because you follow the Mosaic Law by meticulously offering small, lightweight amounts of herbs-like a tenth of the mint, dill, and cumin-but completely and purposefully ignore larger aspects of the Law that carry much more weight like justice and mercy and faithfulness. (24) You're nothing less than sightless spiritual guides who strain out the small unclean gnat, but eat the large unclean camel!

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     (25) "Damn you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! [Why do I sound so harsh?] Because you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside the cup is violent, threatening behavior; and inside the dish is uncontrolled passion for wrongdoing. (26) Pharisee, who lacks spiritual vision, clean first the inside of the cup and dish, then the outside.

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     (27) "Damn you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! [Why do I put it this way?] Because you look just like beautiful, newly-cleaned grave stones that look good on the outside, but on the inside are full of putrid, rotten, rancid, foul-spelling dead men's bones.  (28) That's how you guys are. Oh, you look all righteous and pious on the outside, but inside you're full of hypocrisy and complete disregard for God's Law through Moses.

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     (29) "Damn you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! [Why do I sound so mean?] Because you build monuments on the ancient graves of faithful prophets that still exist today, and decorate the memorial tombs of righteous ones of long ago, (30) and then proceed to say, ‘If we lived back in the days of our forefathers we would not have been party to killing faithful prophets.' (31) By saying this you're confessing to being sons of the very ones who murdered the prophets.  (32) Well, then, go on and act like the generations of your prophet-murdering forefathers who preceded you.

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     (33) "You're no good low down snakes, and, not surprisingly, your fathers who brought you into this world are snakes too. In fact, you're the latest manifestation of generations of no good low down scummy prophet-killing serpents. With this legacy, how could you possibly escape the inevitable judgment of Gehenna? (34) For this reason, I'm sending faithful men to pronounce judgment on you: prophets, wise men, and educated scribes who teach publicly. Oh, some of them you'll kill. Others you'll hang, fastening them to poles. With still others you'll torment and terrorize in your synagogues, persecuting them from city to city.  (35) By taking such actions against faithful prophets of God you've effectively murdered them all, spilling righteous blood from Abel to Zechariah, Barachiah's son, whom you murdered in the opening between the sanctuary and altar. (36) You can believe it when I say, All the damnations that I've proclaimed here and now will be experienced by this generation.

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Jesus Expresses Sadness Over Unrepentant

Jerusalem, Prophesies God's Disfavor

(Chapter 23, verses 37-39)

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     (37) "O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, you are now and always have been a killer of prophets and executer of other godly ones sent forth. I can't tell you how many times I've longed to gather your children together, just like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings! But you would have none of it. (38) Now look at you! Finally, your time has come. The destruction of your house is near. God has left the building! (39) So now I say to you, From now on you won't ever see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he that comes in Yehowah's name!'"

To Matthew Chapter 24