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Monday, November 3, 2014

According to Jesus the Real Issue Isn't the Lack of Morals -- It's the Abundance of Hypocrisy in the Church

The Woes of the Priests and Pharisees is a list of criticisms by Jesus of hypocrisy "don't do as I do, but do as I say". Seven are listed in Matthew 23 and hence Matthew's version is known as the seven woes.  In Matthew they occur shortly before Jesus returns to Jerusalem for his last few days before being crucified. Some scholars believe that when Jesus criticized the leaders for their self-righteous attitude and not the publicans, tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners he had set himself up to be killed a few days later by the ones with all the power and money -the very ones he criticized a few days earlier. (Note - We see here in Matthew 23 that Jesus was not railroaded to the cross by a rowdy bunch of poor, broken, marginalized and sinful prostitutes, gays, drunks, addicts and divorcees.)

1. First Woe - Neglect of love/mercy:  "You give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God."

2. Second Woe - Pride/ego:  "Why do you seek the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces?"

3.  Third Woe - Private unseen dirty heart/soul:  "You are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it."

4.  Fourth Woe - Hypocrites telling people to do what they would not do:  "You load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers"

5.  Fifth Woe - Murderers: "You build the tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them."

6.  Sixth Woe - Self-importance creates a wall:  "You are not the key but a wall preventing the people to enter the kingdom of God."

7.  Seventh Woe - Power and control:  "You lie and wait hoping to trap me, but the hunter will trap and shoot himself."

Jesus said:  "Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and the first who will be last. So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are be called, but few are chosen." Matthew 8:11 - 12

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