Breaking News! Don’t be an Ass-hole!
Jesus severely rebuked the scribes and the Pharisees (also known as experts in the law). These “experts” were reprimanded for their hypocrisy. The Hebrew word translated “hypocrite” here actually means the “godless” or profane. Thus, they were “polluted with crimes.” Basically, they were ass-holes. They were considered godless or impious, meaning unethical, deceitful, desecrating, and sinful.
They were also considered profane, or abusive, nasty, vulgar, corrupt, and contemptible. The word contemptible meaning disgusting, vile… or an ass-hole meaning “contemptible person.”
Jesus Teaches the Crowd & Disciples Not to Act Like the “Experts”
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries wide and their tassels long. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces and to have people call them ‘Rabbi.’ 8 But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers.Matthew 23:1-12
9 And call no one your ‘father’ on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Seven Woes – Jesus Rebukes the Ass-holes
13 “But woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites (profane, godless)! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in.Matthew 23:13-33
15 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites (profane, godless)! You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make
him twice as much a child of hell1 as yourselves!
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple is bound by nothing. But whoever swears by the gold of the temple is bound by the oath.’ 17 Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing. But if anyone swears by the gift on it he is bound by the oath.’
19 You are blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.
21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and the one who dwells in it.
22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and
the one who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites (profane)! You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat yet swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too!
27 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full
29 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have participated
in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 By saying this you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up then the measure of your ancestors! 33 You snakes, you offspring of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell2?
Scripture References Explained
Why did Jesus refer to the Pharisees as a ‘child of hell’ in Matthew 23:15? “Child of hell” means literally, son of Gehenna. Jesus is instructing his followers about the religious “hypocrites” (profane, godless, ass-holes) who are themselves, “children of hell.” Jesus explains that the Pharisees and Sadducees displayed their wickedness in many ways. They did not practice what they preached (verse 3). They burdened the people with religious rituals and ceremonies of their own invention and made no effort to help them to bear them (verse 4). All their religious rituals were done in a public manner in order to receive the praise and glory from others (verses 5–7). For all these sins and more, Jesus pronounces “woes” upon them for their guilt and the punishment that would surely await them.
The word gehenna is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew ge-hinnom, meaning “Valley of [the sons of] Hinnom.” This valley south of Jerusalem was where some of the ancient Israelites “passed children through the fire” (sacrificed their children) to the Canaanite god Molech (2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:2–6). The place is called “Tophet” in Isaiah 30:33. In later years, Gehenna continued to be an unclean place used for burning trash from the city of Jerusalem. Jesus warned his generation of “hell on earth,” which was Gehenna. This was also where hundreds of thousands of bodies would be cast and eaten by worms after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
2. Actual literal translation from the Greek: “the judgement of Gehanna.”
Jesus taught the crowd and his disciples not to act like the scribes & Pharisees, who were acting like ass-holes. He then scolded the scribe & Pharisees for being profane – for being ass-holes.
The message here is simple. Jesus came to teach humanity to NOT BE ASSHOLES. So stop it.
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