The Weekend Word
Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees – we are now going into the section known as the 7 woes. I don’t know exactly what a woe is – but I think I know that it is not good.
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
- Jesus is speaking to the crowd at large and his disciples.
- He is not just telling them about the Sadducees and Pharisees, but about themselves.
- Notice that Jesus does not back down from a challenge from the Pharisees, the Sadducees or the Scribes. He continues to go right at them.
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat,
- What is Moses seat? The seat of judgment? Authority? Lawmaking?
- The seat of Moses is to teach the word of God.
3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.
- They are the guardians and interpreters of God’s word – obedience required.
- They preach it but they do not practice it.
- Remember, Messiah is in their midst – right there – but the Scribes & Pharisees will not use the word for its intended purpose.
- The purpose? To tell us of Jesus and to save people from their sin.
4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
- But no, like many today, they use the Bible to control people – not release people.
- Jesus said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28 – in many American churches there is no release or rest. The Bible is used to keep you on the treadmill.
- They create a sub culture that is busy doing religious things – but there is no fruit.
5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,
- The Scribes & Pharisees do all of this for just the exact opposite motive of what Jesus calls for in the Sermon on the Mount.
- The secrecy of your actions – when you give – when you fast – when you pray (go into your closet).
6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues
- We have these people around today. Watch closely when there is a national disaster – you have the same ‘religious’ leaders paraded out.
- When there is societal calamity like the Orlando shootings, the same folks put themselves in from of the camera.
- We see this is a couple of places in scripture. Luke 14:7-14
- “7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
- And we also see something similar in the upper room Luke 22 “24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.”
7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
- This could be the present day case of those pastors who are known outside of their own church, or church body – denomination / fellowship.
- I can see if someone says, “oh yes I have heard of you” Possibly another to say “hey I recognize you.”
8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.
9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.
- There is a pride thing here – people who want to be recognized by a special title or because of their title.
- But the flip side is just as dangerous and prideful – “oh, I am too humble to allow myself to be recognized by a man made title.
11 The greatest among you shall be your servant.
- Who is the greatest among you? Sunday school answer = Jesus
- Jesus came to serve and not to be served = foot washing.
- So what is Jesus’ point? That the Scribes and the Pharisees are the exact opposite to the command to serve.
12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
- This is very similar to the first shall be last comment.
- The Scribes & Pharisees have sacrificed their rewards in heaven – their reward of heaven – their presence in heaven for their present day acknowledgement of men.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.
- Everything Jesus is saying he has said before – so he is kicking it up a notch – Woe! 7 times = complete judgment.
- Jesus is still in a “in your face” mode – to call the Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites is a big thing.
- This is completely opposite of what we see of Jesus, the Door, the Gate.
- Throughout the Gospel of Matthew we see that Jesus is opening the kingdom of heaven to all – who are the all?
- The poor, the spiritually poor, the nobodies of the world – the thief hanging next to him and yes, even babies,
- Ooops, where is the lovey, dovey Jesus? Shouldn’t he be out establishing a relationship with these folks in order to win them to Christ? No, he is out there just poking them in the eye.
- Look at the baptism of Jesus – what happened? The heavens were opened, and Jesus was set to open heaven to all.
- Now he is accusing the Scribes and the Pharisees of closing the heavens to the people.
- So, the WOE Jesus is stating here is the closing of heaven to the Scribes & Pharisees. — SLAM!!!
- Jesus now will list the 7 Woes of Judgment
- This is like the Book of Revelation – 7 Seals – 7 Trumpets – 7 Bowls – movement from partial judgment to total judgment.
- This is where the 7 Woes end up — Total Judgment.