The 23rd chapter of Matthew confirms the truth of the above statement beyond the shadow of a doubt. The sweet Lamb of God, longing to love and not to punish, but seeing the sad misunderstanding among His followers, is finally forced to tear the ragged tpestry off outward manifestations from the Pharisees and Saducees because their hearts were far from Him. They were faithfully proclaiming and practicing the doctrines of men instead of the powerful grace of God which fills men's hearts and forces them to seek the Lord Jesus with broken and contrite hearts.
But Jesus loved them enough to tell them the unvarnished truth. Many times that hurts egos and destroys positions, but it is as necessary as cutting a cancer out of a human body. Only when the truths of Almighty God are taught, respected and lived are we safely on the straight and narrow path that leads home.
Jesus' sermon here is an address (or more a "dressing down") of pretense. He told His discipes and the gathered multitudes, "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore, do what they tell you, but do not do according to their works, for they say and do not do. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear and lay them on men's shoulders, but they will not move them with one of their fingers. All their works they do are to be seen by men. They enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts and the best seats in the synagogue. And they love the greetings in the marketplace and to be called "Rabbi, Rabbi', by men." (Matt. 23:1-7)
But then, Jesus turns His attention to the assembled scribes and Pharisees and makes His point very, very clear. "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers! Therefore, you will receive greater condemnation! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees! For you travel land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mind, anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done without leaving the other undone, (Matt. 13, 15 23) You are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. (Matt 13:28)
Jesus looks at our hearts, and His assessment is always correct because He knows what is in man. It is a total waste of time to parade around in outer behavior that mocks the Son of God.
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