Matthew 23:1–13 (ESV)
Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees (1st Woe)
23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe
whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 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. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats
in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 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. 11 The greatest among you shall be your
servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
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.
Have you ever
heard the saying “Do as I say, not as I do.” Jesus is speaking against the scribes and the Pharisees in how they live and treat others. He uses their lifestyle to teach us how we are to live. Today’s reading ushers in the
1st of the 7 Woes. “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. The word hypocrite means
to wear a mask, like an actor playing the part of someone else… that is, being someone that you are not.
I pray: O Lord, I know that I’m a
Christian, but my life does not always reflect my beliefs. Forgive me for when I’m wearing a mask instead of living for Christ. I repent and want to do better. Amen.