7 Woes Against False Leaders

Aug 19, 2018 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Series: Messiah in Matthew Scripture: Matthew 23:13-33
Jesus’ condemnation against these scribes and Pharisees comes in the form of seven “woes,” which flesh out Jesus’ previous statement, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled (23:12).” A “woe” is an expression of pain, wrath and sorrow that is typically organized into three parts: (1) the recipient of the judgment; (2) the transgression for which the judgment comes; and (3) the resulting condemnation. “Woes” serve as the opposite of “blessings;” as blessings convey salvation to the contrite, woes communicate judgment to the prideful and unrepentant. In these seven woes pronounced by Jesus to the religious leaders of the Jewish people, we find them to be false proselytizers (v. 13-15) with false priorities (v. 16-24) coming under false pretense (25-28) as a result of a false pedigree (29-33). Matthew 23:13-33 concludes the section which began in chapter 21, exposing the false shepherds of Israel; but it also serves as a bridge to the impending judgment on Israel and eschatological events leading to Judgment day, unpacked in the Olivet Discourse of chapters 24-25. Though talk of wrath and judgment and an ultimate Judgment Day may not be comfortable for us as Christians, the holiness of God necessitates our assimilating words of judgment into our understanding.