Read Matthew 23


Hypocrisy denounced; destruction of the Temple foretold; signs of Christ's return.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation (Matt. 23:14).

During our Lord's last day in the temple, He exposed the false and evil character of the religious leaders. The pretended sanctity of the Pharisees and the orthodoxy of the scribes had won for both of them a reputation of religious superiority. Then there were the wealthy Sadducees, who neither pretended or practiced biblical orthodoxy (21:23-22:34).

At this time Jesus proclaimed His strongest denunciation for these religious leaders calling them blind guides. . . . hypocrites . . . full of . . . all uncleanness. . . . of hypocrisy and iniquity. . . . Ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (23:13-33). It was the strongest, sternest, severest pronouncement of judgment in His entire ministry; somewhat paralleling that in Galilee when He denounced the unbelieving cities in which most of His miracles took place (11:20-24).

After leaving the Temple, His disciples, as loyal, patriotic Jews had done for centuries, were admiring the marvelous structure of the Temple buildings. They had especially noticed the greatness of the stones and were astounded when Jesus declared that this same temple would all be torn down, not one stone left upon another (24:1-2, Mark 13:1).

As He sat upon the Mount of Olives, His disciples asked Him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? ( Matt. 24:3).

There can be no question about the exactness of the details Jesus prophesied, but Bible teachers disagree as to whether He refered to the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D under Titus, the still-to-be fulfilled tribulation, or His return in the end times.

Jesus begins with: Take heed that no man deceive you (24:4). This statement is of utmost importance since we can become too concerned over the year and the exact time of Christ's coming. But, He makes it clear that this should not be our primary concern.

The unsaved need to know that His love and saving grace are also avalible to them. Thus our part, as believers, is to proclaim the praises of Christ to the world. Jesus said to occupy until He comes (Luke 19:13). Jesus has commissioned us to Go . . . teach all nations . . . to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you (Matt. 28:18-20).

Thought for Today:

Is your life an outflow of the love of Christ each day?

Cross References:

For Matt. 23:39: See Ps. 118:26Matt. 24:15: See Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. Matt. 24:29: See Is. 13:10; 24:23; 34:4; Ezek. 32:7; Joel 2:10,31; 3:15; Zeph. 1:15Matt. 24:30: See Dan. 7:13Matt. 24:31: See Deut. 30:4; Is. 27:13; Zech. 2:6Matt. 24:38: See Gen. 6:3-5; 7:7.

Word Studies:

23:5 phylacteries, Scripture texts in small boxes worn by some Jews to impress others of their religious zeal; 23:15 compass, to “go about,” or “go around,” sea and land; 23:29 garnish, decorate, adorn.

Prayer Suggestion: Seek God as more important than food to satisfy your hunger (Prov. 3:13-18).

Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 139:1-2