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June 11, 2018

In Matthew 23, we see a description of the Pharisees and their hypocrisy. They would enlarge the decorations and tassels on their garments so that others would notice them. They wanted to make themselves appear more important and more holy than other people. The Pharisees enjoyed being called important titles like "Rabbi" and they liked to have the seat of honor at banquets and the seats in the front of the synagogue where they could be highly visible and impressive to others. Jesus speaks out against their attention-seeking behavior that demonstrated how they were truly out to glorify themselves. Jesus said instead in verse 12,"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." What does this mean for us today? We must be careful to examine our behavior and our motives. Our motivation should be to glorify God and please Him in every area of our lives with a humble spirit and a servant's heart. We should not get caught up in pride and bringing acclaim and recognition to ourselves. Notice how the Pharisees wanted to be the center of attention and appear extra holy, even wanting the most visible seats in the synagogue. We must take care that we come to church to worship the Lord with a reverent attitude and a humble heart, not just to "be seen" by other people or to make ourselves appear "morally upright" in the eyes of others.

Jeremiah 18-19 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Parable of the Potter

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal my words to you.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel.[a] 4 But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.

5 The word of the Lord came to me: 6 “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. 7 At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy it. 8 However, if that nation about which I have made the announcement turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the disaster I had planned to do to it. 9 At another time I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it. 10 However, if it does what is evil in my sight by not listening to me, I will relent concerning the good I had said I would do to it. 11 So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look, I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.’ 12 But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’”

Deluded Israel

13 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:

Ask among the nations,
who has heard things like these?
Virgin Israel has done a most horrible thing.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon ever leave the highland crags?
Or does cold water flowing from a distance ever fail?
15 Yet my people have forgotten me.
They burn incense to worthless idols
that make them stumble in their ways
on the ancient roads,
and make them walk on new paths, not the highway.
16 They have made their land a horror,
a perpetual object of scorn;[b]
all who pass by it will be appalled
and shake their heads.
17 I will scatter them before the enemy like the east wind.
I will show them[c] my back and not my face
on the day of their calamity.

Plot against Jeremiah

18 Then certain ones said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah, for instruction will never be lost from the priest, or counsel from the wise, or a word from the prophet. Come, let’s denounce him[d] and pay no attention to all his words.”

19 Pay attention to me, Lord.
Hear what my opponents are saying!
20 Should good be repaid with evil?
Yet they have dug a pit for me.
Remember how I stood before you
to speak good on their behalf,
to turn your anger from them.
21 Therefore, hand their children over to famine,
and give them over to the power of the sword.
Let their wives become childless and widowed,
their husbands slain by deadly disease,[e]
their young men struck down by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses
when you suddenly bring raiders against them,
for they have dug a pit to capture me
and have hidden snares for my feet.
23 But you, Lord, know
all their deadly plots against me.
Do not wipe out their iniquity;
do not blot out their sin before you.
Let them be forced to stumble before you;
deal with them in the time of your anger.

The Clay Jar

19 This is what the Lord says: “Go, buy a potter’s clay jar. Take[f] some of the elders of the people and some of the leading priests 2 and go out to Ben Hinnom Valley near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. Proclaim there the words I speak to you. 3 Say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on this place that everyone who hears about it will shudder[g] 4 because they have abandoned me and made this a foreign place. They have burned incense in it to other gods that they, their fathers, and the kings of Judah have never known. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, something I have never commanded or mentioned; I never entertained the thought.[h]

6 “‘Therefore, look, the days are coming—this is the Lord’s declaration—when this place will no longer be called Topheth and Ben Hinnom Valley, but Slaughter Valley. 7 I will spoil the plans of Judah and Jerusalem in this place. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, by the hand of those who intend to take their life. I will provide their corpses as food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land. 8 I will make this city desolate, an object of scorn. Everyone who passes by it will be appalled and scoff because of all its wounds. 9 I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and they will eat each other’s flesh in the distressing siege inflicted on them by their enemies who intend to take their life.’

10 “Then you are to shatter the jar in the presence of the people going with you, 11 and you are to proclaim to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: I will shatter these people and this city, like one shatters a potter’s jar that can never again be mended. They will bury the dead in Topheth because there is no other place for burials. 12 That is what I will do to this place—this is the declaration of the Lord—and to its residents, making this city like Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will become impure like that place Topheth—all the houses on whose rooftops they have burned incense to all the stars in the sky and poured out drink offerings to other gods.’”

14 Jeremiah returned from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, stood in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple, and proclaimed to all the people, 15 “This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to bring on this city—and on all its cities—every disaster that I spoke against it, for they have become obstinate, not obeying my words.’”


18:3 Lit pair of stones

18:16 Lit hissing

18:17 LXX, Lat, Syr, Tg; MT reads will look at them

18:18 Lit let’s strike him with the tongue

18:21 Lit by death

19:1 Syr, Tg; MT omits Take

19:3 Lit about it, his ears will tingle; Hb obscure

19:5 Lit mentioned, and it did not arise on my heart

Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Matthew 23 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Religious Hypocrites Denounced

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. 3 Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry[a] and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do everything[b] to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.[c] 6 They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.

8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher,[d] and you are all brothers and sisters. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 You are not to be called instructors either, because you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in.[e]

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell[f] as you are!

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the temple, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the temple is bound by his oath.’[g] 17 Blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 Also, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing; but whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.’ 19 Blind people![h] For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore, the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it. 21 The one who takes an oath by the temple takes an oath by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God’s throne and by him who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of[i] mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness.[j] These things should have been done without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, but gulp down a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed[k] and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup,[l] so that the outside of it[m] may also become clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity. 28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors’ sins!

33 “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell?[n] 34 This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you,[o] from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all these things will come on this generation.

Jesus’s Lamenting over Jerusalem

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks[p] under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’!”[q]


23:4 Other mss omit that are hard to carry

23:5 Lit do all their works

23:5 Other mss add on their robes

23:8 Other mss add the Christ

23:13 Some mss include v. 14: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and make long prayers just for show. This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.

23:15 Lit twice the son of gehenna

23:16 Lit is obligated, also in v. 18

23:19 Other mss read Fools and blind

23:23 Or You tithe

23:23 Or faith

23:25 Or full of violence

23:26 Other mss add and dish

23:26 Other mss read of them

23:33 Lit escape from the judgment of gehenna

23:35 Lit will come on you

23:37 Or as a mother bird gathers her young

23:39 Ps 118:26

Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.