Blessings & Woes from Jesus

Part 2

This page continues a study of the *8 Woes* that Jesus pronounced upon the Scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem.

If you haven't yet read
the first study in this series, I strongly recommend you to do so.
  Each of these studies makes a comparison between one of the Lord's *8 Woes* in Matthew chapter 23 |in contrast with| one of the Lord's *8 Blessings* in Matthew chapter 5.

The full lists of woes and blessings are given below. The ones covered in this lesson are highlighted in yellow.

*8 Woes*
Announced by Lord Jesus

  • 1- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men.
  • 2- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses, and pray at length as a pretense.
  • 3- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
  • 4- Woe to you, blind guides, who say, "Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it."
  • 5- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.
  • 6- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
  • 7- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
  • 8- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, "If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets."

Extracted from Mt 23.13-30

*8 Blessings*
Announced by Lord Jesus

  • 1- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • 2- Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • 3- Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • 4- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
  • 5- Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
  • 6- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • 7- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
  • 8- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mt 5.3-8

The Second Woe
Jesus pronounced a second woe upon the Jewish religious leaders [Scribes and Pharisees] for two reasons:

Reason #1- The religious leaders prayed long prayers in public as a pretense...
  Woe #2- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you... pray at length as a pretense. Mt 23.14b
  • In Matthew 6.5-6, Jesus explained the purpose and joy of talking to your Father in heaven.
  • Jesus taught you that God wants you to talk to Him in private, as a means of fellowship, worship, and confession -- just between you and Him.
  • In Matthew 23.14 Jesus condemned the Pharisees for doing just the opposite. They prayed publicly, not for the purpose of fellowship with God, but in order to impress the people around them.
  [Jesus said...] When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Mt 6.5-6
Reason #2- The religious leaders devoured widows' houses...   Woe #2- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses
Mt 23.14a

Jesus pronounced the second woe because the religious leaders had turned the temple into a means of making money for themselves.

Everyone -- even those who were very poor -- had to make offerings in the temple at Jerusalem...

  • People weren't allowed to offer Roman coins [the coin of the realm] but had to exchange them for temple coins, at grossly unfavorable rates of exchange.
  • People weren't allowed to offer sacrificial animals from any source other than those animals sold within the temple grounds -- again at extremely high prices.

Jesus condemned the religious leaders because they were unconcerned by the fact that their commercialization of the temple could cause widows and other impoverished people to lack food and clothing, and even to lose their homes.

  Jesus found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business.

When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables.

And Jesus said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!"
John 2.14-16
Under the guise of religiosity and position, the Scribes and Pharisees were making a lucrative living.

Making a living from preaching the Gospel and serving the Lord is not wrong (see the verses alongside), but using preaching as a means of taking advantage of those who are vulnerable is inexcusable.
  The Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. 1 Cor 9.14

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
Gal 6.6
The Second Blessing
God has promised to bless and comfort those who mourn because of their own sin, and the sins of the world. He has further promised that those who plant the seeds of the Gospel shall reap a joyous harvest of saved souls.

Rather than mourning over sin, and seeking to save the lost, the Pharisees made long prayers as a pretense to show how sincere and caring they were. But Jesus saw the pride and greed that were hidden deep within their hearts.

The prayers and shepherding care of the Pharisees were only a cloak for them to acquire more possessions. Jesus saw this and condemned them.
  Blessing #2- Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Mt 5.4

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
Psalm 126.5-6
As in the days of yore, so also TODAY...
The exercise of greed and deceit in the name of religion did not cease with the days of the Pharisees. Those evil deeds continue today, and shall only get more extensive as we near the return of Lord Jesus.

As shown by the verses alongside, the Bible warns us that, in the last days, there will be religious teachers who hold to a form of godliness but deny its power for rightful use. Instead, they will misuse their ministries to captivate weak-willed women weighed down with sins.
  There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy... having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desire
2 Tim 3.1-2a, 3.5-6

Even today, there are religious charlatans who seek to make money by feeding on the guilt, shame and burdens of folks who are seeking spiritual hope and answers.

Two things to keep in mind...

  • First, those who have pastoral responsibilities must always examine their motives, and keep Jesus before the sheep and not themselves. Jesus is the Great Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4) and ultimately all believing sheep belong to Him.
  • Second, all Christians need to be more than ever watchful for possible impostors. Do not think that such things can never happen to you or your church. When you are burdened with sin and carrying a load of guilt, Satan may use your pain and vulnerability to introduce you to one of his FALSE ministers dressed in holy attire [2 Cor 11.14 -15].-->

Watch and pray carefully concerning who and what you watch on TV.

Be careful about trusting the things you get in the mail from non-profit organizations that ask for contributions.

Hopefully, you have a home church that preaches the Word and loves Jesus. The safest route is to give your money to it and let God use your church to distribute His resources as directed.

In Matthew 23:14 we have both the predator and victim. Although it is the predator thatís condemned by Christ, being a victim doesnít lessen the guilt and shame. Amen


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