04 February 2015
by Philip Layton


Jesus speaks plainly against the hypocritical piety of the religious leaders

Click here to read Matthew 23

Discussion Question

  • Jesus makes some hard criticisms. What does it tell you about his character?

Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag.

Going Deeper –  from 'Words of Life'

‘”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence”’ (v. 25).

The cross tells us of our sins. We can see them in those who were at the cross when the Lord was crucified.

There were several groups of people surrounding the cross. They included the Pharisees, teachers of the law. We see sins in them. They are clearly found in Matthew chapter 23. They were directly responsible for putting Jesus on the cross.

They kept trying to find chances to kill Jesus: ‘The chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him’ (Luke 19:47). Their desire to kill Jesus was an outward sign of their inward sin. The great sin in their heart was human pride, which did not allow them to admit their sin and instead led them to put themselves in the place of God.

Is not their sin our sin as well? We put ourselves in the centre. Even when we say we serve God, we sometimes tell God to use us in the way we want to be used. Do we not place something other than God in his place – our education, qualifications, experiences, achievements, wealth or reputation? Do we not see ourselves as better than others? Do we not feel important when we achieve something and someone compliments us?

It is easier to see other people’s sins and mistakes than it is to see our own. Unconsciously we are often blind to our own faults, just as the Pharisees were. We too put Jesus on the cross. 

To pray

Lord, help us to see our true selves in your eyes and to recognise our sin – the sin of putting something other than you in your place.

Beverly Ivany
'Money changers' courtesy of freebibleimages.org

Tags: Matthew