Bible IndexHome...Saved?..Pray...Free...Bible...Shop...Learn...Worship...U.S.B.S...Contact UsPhilippians 1Philippians 2Philippians 3Philippians 4Colossians 1Colossians 2Colossians 3Colossians 4
 
 

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Matthew Chapter 23

esus reproves the scribes and Pharisees. (1-12) Crimes of the Pharisees. (13-33) The guilt of Jerusalem. (34-39)

Verses 1-12: The scribes and Pharisees explained the law of Moses, and enforced obedience to it. They are charged with hypocrisy in religion. We can only judge according to outward appearance; but God searches the heart. They made phylacteries. These were scrolls of paper or parchment, wherein were written four paragraphs of the law, to be worn on their foreheads and left arms, (Ex 13:2-10; 13:11-16; De 6:4-9; 11:13-21). They made these phylacteries broad, that they might be thought more zealous for the law than others. God appointed the Jews to make fringes upon their garments, (Nu 15:38), to remind them of their being a peculiar people; but the Pharisees made them larger than common, as if they were thereby more religious than others. Pride was the darling, reigning sin of the Pharisees, the sin that most easily beset them, and which our Lord Jesus takes all occasions to speak against. For him that is taught in the word to give respect to him that teaches, is commendable; but for him that teaches, to demand it, to be puffed up with it, is sinful. How much is all this against the spirit of Christianity! The consistent disciple of Christ is pained by being put into chief places. But who that looks around on the visible church, would think this was the spirit required? It is plain that some measure of this antichristian spirit prevails in every religious society, and in every one of our hearts.

Verses 13-33: The scribes and Pharisees were enemies to the gospel of Christ, and therefore to the salvation of the souls of men. It is bad to keep away from Christ ourselves, but worse also to keep others from him. Yet it is no new thing for the show and form of godliness to be made a cloak to the greatest enormities. But dissembled piety will be reckoned double iniquity. They were very busy to turn souls to be of their party. Not for the glory of God and the good of souls, but that they might have the credit and advantage of making converts. Gain being their godliness, by a thousand devices they made religion give way to their worldly interests. They were very strict and precise in smaller matters of the law, but careless and loose in weightier matters. It is not the scrupling a little sin that Christ here reproves; if it be a sin, though but a gnat, it must be strained out; but the doing that, and then swallowing a camel, or, committing a greater sin. While they would seem to be godly, they were neither sober nor righteous. We are really, what we are inwardly. Outward motives may keep the outside clean, while the inside is filthy; but if the heart and spirit be made new, there will be newness of life; here we must begin with ourselves. The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was like the ornaments of a grave, or dressing up a dead body, only for show. The deceitfulness of sinners' hearts appears in that they go down the streams of the sins of their own day, while they fancy that they should have opposed the sins of former days. We sometimes think, if we had lived when Christ was upon earth, that we should not have despised and rejected him, as men then did; yet Christ in his Spirit, in his word, in his ministers, is still no better treated. And it is just with God to give those up to their hearts' lusts, who obstinately persist in gratifying them. Christ gives men their true characters.

Verses 34-39: Our Lord declares the miseries the inhabitants of Jerusalem were about to bring upon themselves, but he does not notice the sufferings he was to undergo. A hen gathering her chickens under her wings, is an apt emblem of the Saviour's tender love to those who trust in him, and his faithful care of them. He calls sinners to take refuge under his tender protection, keeps them safe, and nourishes them to eternal life. The present dispersion and unbelief of the Jews, and their future conversion to Christ, were here foretold. Jerusalem and her children had a large share of guilt, and their punishment has been signal. But ere long, deserved vengeance will fall on every church which is Christian in name only. In the mean time the Saviour stands ready to receive all who come to him. There is nothing between sinners and eternal happiness, but their proud and unbelieving unwillingness.

 


David Burnette's Life Application

Are You a Hypocrite?

 Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Matthew with Chapter 23. In our text today we see Jesus condemning the religious leaders for being hypocrites as they keep those who attempting to come to Christ away with their self imposed laws and regulations. In making application we see the same today as some who claim to be Christian come up with their own rules and regulations to keep others from the Lord instead of simply preaching the truth of the Bible calling all sinners to repentance. How about you? Do you see some practicing this hypocrisy? Let us learn from our text today to examine ourselves and others who Jesus calls hypocrites for their proclamation of a religion that is not in the Bible and instead let us cling to the Word of God which calls all sinners to repentance.

 

.
Matthew 23

Matthew 23

 1Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

 2Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

 3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

 4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

 5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

 6And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

 7And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

 8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

 9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

 10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

 11But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

 12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

 13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

 14Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

 15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

 16Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

 17Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?

 18And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.

 19Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?

 20Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.

 21And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.

 22And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

 23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

 24Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

 25Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

 26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

 27Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

 28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

 29Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

 30And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

 31Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

 32Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

 33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

 34Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

 35That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

 36Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

 37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

 39For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.