Jesus confronts the religious leaders on their hypocrisy with eight divine indictments, calling them pretenders, frauds, play-actors, and cold-blooded snakes.
- You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces (23:13).
- You shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and make lengthy prayers for show (23:14 cf Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47)
- You lead your disciples into a religion of works, but not into true righteousness (23:15).
- You are spiritually blind and therefore unfit to guide others (23:16–22).
- You ignore the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness to God (23:23–24).
- You appear clean and virtuous, but inside you are full of greed and self-indulgence (23:25–26).
- You look righteous on the outside, but really are only hypocritical and wicked (23:27–28).
- You have inherited your ancestors’ wickedness and are following in their steps (23:29)
In what ways might we be guilty of hypocrisy like the religious leaders of Jesus’s day?
How do we keep people away from Jesus?
How are we trying to guide others where we are blind?
Lord Jesus, as a recovering pharisee, I pause to examine my heart based on your pointed words. Show me by the power of the Holy Spirit where I have been a hypocrite. Help me see my blind spots so that I might not lead others astray. Stop me when I am teaching the old way of earning your favor rather than your new way of grace and love. Help me focus on what is important to you. May what is in my heart match what I show the world.
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