“...I tell you the truth…” Matthew 23:36
In our discovery of eternal truths associated with this powerful five word phrase, Matthew recounts Jesus’ description of seven woes addressed to the teachers of The Law in His last public message, when He:
condemned the teachers’ hypocrisy which prevented genuine seekers from discovering the love of God (vv. 13-14);
exposed the teachers as frauds in their missionary pursuits (v.15);
confronted the teachers’ errant perspective in taking oaths (vv. 16 - 22);
exposed the teachers of the law for neglecting to teach and model justice, mercy, and faithfulness (vv. 23-24);
condemned the duplicity by the pharisees - appearing pure to the common person, yet nurturing sin in their hearts (vv. 25- 26);
pronounced the pharisees’ hearts as spiritually dead - whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside, while housing dead men’s bones on the inside full of the decay of death (vv. 27-28); and
identified the teachers of the law as serpents, thereby linking their deceptive actions to that of lucifer, the serpent in the garden (vv. 29 - 33).
Jesus’ final message exposed the flaws of the legalism and duplicity practiced by the pharisees, who had: a false sense of righteousness (vv. 2-3); a corrupt view of ministry (v.4); and a worldly perspective of greatness (vv. 5-12). Jesus confronted them with the mirror of God’s righteous wrath, asking, “How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (v.33) Nevertheless, Jesus’ heart has always been that none should perish (read 2 Peter 3:9), and informed them that He was sending prophets, wise men, and teachers to call them to repentance, predicting they would act just as their forefathers, who stoned and executed prophets and righteous people from Abel to Zechariah. Jesus described how the blood of martyrs would cry out against all those who have acted like those teachers of the law (v.35).
The eternal truth exposed in this passage is seen in the pronouncement of Christ as Lord and King, sometime in the unknown future… and it will echo back to the generation that rejected the Christ (v.36), when He comes in victorious glory as eternity’s King. It will be the day Believers will proclaim, “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of The Lord!” (v.39). It will be the day when He gathers those He loves, just as a mother chick gathers her chicks under her wings. The churches that forsook His message of righteous living in love will be forever empty, while the halls of Heaven will be filled with the praises of those who exalt His name for His sacrificial love upon the cross.
Have a blessed day…