The Word This Week

Matt 23:1…

Earlier Jesus had cursed a fig tree because it was filled with leaves, but it contained no fruit. It withered from its roots, that its leaves would never attract anyone from being drawn to that fruitless tree again.

Now, in front of the multitudes, Jesus, in a sense, curses the very scribes and Pharisees the fruitless fig tree represented. They are all leaf and no fruit.

The tenor of this excoriating rebuke must have been a shock to everyone who heard. It is still shocking to us today – and should be taken as a severe warning against anyone who would ever claim to represent God before His people unfaithfully.

Let us be clear, there is nothing wrong with the Law these scribes and Pharisees present. The problem is they say and do not do, and when leaders fail to follow the commands they impose, they teach people by their actions God’s righteousness is not to be taken seriously.

By their haughty lifestyles, they had actually turned people away from God, if not physically - in their hearts – which is even worse.

Jesus did not spare or soften His words directed publicly to these failed religious leaders. He instead turned up the volume so all could hear – and so we could hear across the ages and the pages.

Certainly Jesus knew these were the very men who would put Him to death, and the decision had been made to kill Him and would not or could not be reversed. There is freedom to speak when you know the full reality of any situation, and that it cannot be changed.

It may not seem so, but Jesus is making one final attempt to reach these hypocrites through the power of His convicting words. If you will not allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit through these words, then there is nothing more to say.

Pastor Bill