XXXI. The Last Discourse at the Temple
128. Jesus’ Indictment of His Jerusalem Enemies
1Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,
2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;
3so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but do not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.a
4They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.”
5“They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteriesb broad and their fringes long, 6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, 7and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.”
9“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.c 11He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; 12whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
13“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. 14Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive the greater condemnation. 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”
16“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' 17You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18And you say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.' 19You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?”
(Mt. 23:1–7, 9, 11–19) (continued)
a “they preach, but do not practice” —The true follower of Jesus will practice the principles of the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus calls us not merely to espouse his teachings but rather to live the teachings (“not in word only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit”). (1 Thes. 1:5)
b “phylacteries”—(phy•lac•ter•ies) Phylacteries are small square leather boxes containing verses from scripture; traditionally these were worn on the left arm and forehead by Jewish men during the morning weekday prayers.
c “you have one Father, who is in heaven”—Here is a simple and clear declaration of the central truth of Jesus’ gospel: God is our loving heavenly Father. From the Fatherhood of God everything else flows, e.g., sonship, brotherhood, faith, will, love, service, forgiveness, birth of the spirit, fellowship with God, fruit of the spirit, righteousness, and salvation.