“How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 You say, ‘If we had lived in our ancestors’ days, we wouldn’t have joined them in killing the prophets.’ 31 You testify against yourselves that you are children of those who murdered the prophets.32 Go ahead, complete what your ancestors did. 33 You snakes! You children of snakes! How will you be able to escape the judgment of hell?34 Therefore, look, I’m sending you prophets, wise people, and legal experts. Some of them you will kill and crucify. And some you will beat in your synagogues and chase from city to city. 35 Therefore, upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been poured out on the earth, from the blood of that righteous man Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you killed between the temple and the altar. 36 I assure you that all these things will come upon this generation (Matthew 23:29-36, Common English Bible).
“I would never do that.” They are easy words to say. Completely following through??? That could be a completely different story. I am reminded of the old sitcom Family Matters. In just about every episode Steve Urkel would do something he probably never thought he would do. The words, “Did I do that?” quickly followed.
In today’s lesson, Jesus has been giving the Pharisees and legal experts “what for” for the last several verses (for us over the last several days). With this lesson, he seems to be winding to a conclusion.
First Jesus reminds them they say they wouldn’t kill a righteous person like one of the prophets. But, I think Jesus is also reminding them they wouldn’t listen to John the Baptist. And, while John the Baptist was not killed by the Pharisees, they also weren’t really willing to listen to him either.
Jesus tells the Pharisees and legal experts that he is sending them prophets, wise many of whom they will kill and others they will beat in the synagogues. This could be a bit perplexing. I can’t help but think Jesus is speaking of himself and of the disciples here. They weren’t willing to listen to Jesus and there were some pretty direct hands from their number involved in his crucifixion. We can follow that with the knowledge that some of the disciples were also crucified.
I think for us, all this means we need to be careful about how quickly we will say, “I would never do that.” Because of our sin, we do “that” pretty regularly. We can easily be like the people who would, after watching The Passion of the Christ, “I just hate what they did to Jesus.” It was as much for our sins that Jesus went to the cross as it was for the sins of the Pharisees and legal experts.
“I would never do that.” Yeah, the truth is, I would do that. Sometimes I do exactly that. May God forgive my sin.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved