Matthew 23:13 – August 23, 2021

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. Matthew 23:13 NABRE           

Jesus begins to thunder woes against the scribes and Pharisees, those responsible for the spiritual life of the Jewish people. The first “woe” condemns them for being hypocrites who are blocking the way to the kingdom of heaven. They not only refuse to enter they also block access for others. They don’t lack a spirit of evangelism, Jesus will later say they make great efforts for a single convert but they use their influence to dissuade others from trying to enter. The Pharisees are accused of distorting God’s intention for the Torah and inoculate their followers against the Messiah. Jesus uses the work lock as if they are securing a door or gate with a key. The consequences are dreadful. Not only are the scribes and Pharisees condemning themselves to judgement but they are blocking others who will be condemned. The leaders are preaching against the Messiah and therefore people listening to them move away from Him. 

We see this today in our vaccine, mask debate for COVID-19. Many are speaking against these COVID precautions even though it might not be their area of expertise, it has turned into a political discussion rather than a health and safety discussion. The highly contagious DELTA variant has increased COVID cases with higher death counts weekly. In some cases politicians and influencers are condemn (infected) by the virus, but also many who follow their advice have been severely impacted. Leaders who block people from the message of God, cause these people’s condemnation with no valid reason other then personal gain and affluence. Jesus says woe to them.

Do you hinder others approach to God? Are you influencing in a positive way?

Leaders who block people from the message of God, cause these people’s condemnation with no valid reason other then personal gain and affluence. Jesus says woe to them. Click To Tweet

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