Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees

October 26th, 2011

My wife and I were reading Matthew 23 yesterday. We were up to verses 13-36 which talks about Jesus and His attack on the Scribes and Pharisees. It is a pretty full on and blunt assessment of where they are at as religious leaders.

Seven times in this passage Jesus uses the term “Woe to you…” So what was Jesus expressing these thoughts about? In this passage there are seven woes He mentions.

  1. Not letting others enter the Kingdom or heaven or entering themselves (v13)
  2. Converting people away from God and to following themselves or their own way of doing things (v15)
  3. Blindly leading people to follow man made traditions rather than God’s Word (v16-22)
  4. Following the law in detail but forgetting mercy, justice and faith (v23-24)
  5. Keeping up appearances while inside your private world is corrupt (v25-26)
  6. Acting spiritual on the outside to cover up personal or hidden sin (v27-28)
  7. Pretending to have learned from history but repeating the past (v28-29)


In saying these things Jesus showed God was very displeased with the religious “leaders” of the day. They were very strong statements to them. He finishes with the words “You brood of vipers”. Pretty heavy stuff!

For us today we need to be careful that we keep God first place in our hearts and lives. We can get caught up in serving God, studying and reading His Word that we forget that God wants real love, mercy and forgiveness to flow from us.

God wants us to live from a place where our internal lives are right with Him. He doesn’t want us to pretend to be religious on the outside only. He wants to transform our hearts by the power of His Word and His Holy Spirit.

God wants streams of living water to flow from us out of our love and relationship with Him. He doesn’t want religious people, He wants transformed disciples… from the inside out.

God Bless,