Study Passage: Matthew 23
To get a vivid idea of how the Bible uses the word “woe,” read Revelation 8-9. This word precedes unimaginably horrible calamities on the earth during the Tribulation. It is also the word Isaiah uses in chapter 6 when He saw the thrice Holy God and then evaluated himself.
vv. 1-12 Jesus enumerates the reasons for calling the scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites,” “fools,” and “blind.” You might want to underline these three words every time they occur in our passage. Jesus thunders that these religious leaders are all talk and no walk, they increase burdens instead of alleviating them, they are all about externals instead of internals, they major on minors, they seek titles instead of respect, they seek to be ministered unto instead of ministering.
vv. 13-33 Now the Lord Jesus pronounces eight “woes” – profound judgements – on these “Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” A valuable preparation for class would be to restate each of these in your own words. For example, for the first “woe” in verse 13 you might say, “these people are unsaved and try to keep others from getting saved.”
vv. 34-39 After this withering condemnation, our Lord reviews how He had sent prophets (He is eternal) whom religionists had killed, crucified, scourged, persecuted, slain, and stoned. They are without excuse. The nation will not see Him again until His Second Coming.
Getting the facts #1: Matthew 23:1-12
- What did the Scribes and Pharisees say but not do?
Getting the facts #2: Matthew 23:1-12
- Why did Jesus say the religious leaders acted the way they did?
Getting the facts #3: Matthew 23:13-33
- For what reason(s) did Jesus pronounce woes upon the religious leaders?
Getting the facts #4: Matthew 23:34-39
- Who does Jesus say sent the prophets, wise men, and scribes to the Jews?
- What does verse 39 promise?
Warren Wiersbe “Be Loyal” lesson 20 (chapter 20 in the Matthew portion of the Wiersbe Bible Commentary set) – “The King’s Denunciation” Matthew 23
* Introduction by Dr. I.C. Beach