|<< Matt 22|
|<< Mark 12|
|<< Luke 20|
|<< John 12|
Matthew 22:41-23:39; Mark 12:35-44 Listen
Luke 20:41-21:4; John 12:20-43
In this passage, we see the following in Jesus' ministry:
|41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.
|35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
|41 And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is Davids son?
42 And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
44 David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?
This confrontation between the Jewish leadership and Jesus began in Matthew 22:15, Mark 12:13-17 and Luke 20:20-26 (see notes) when they sought to verbally trap Jesus in front of his disciples. In order to understand this conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees, it is important to know that "Christ" is the Greek word for "Messiah." While the Pharisees are still gathered, Jesus fires a question at them unlike any they had probably ever considered. They were well aware of the anticipated Messiah's ancestry based upon Old Testament scripture ( II Samuel 7:13-14, see note, Isaiah 11:1,10, see notes and Jeremiah 23:5, see notes). Many Jewish scholars (but not all) in Jesus' day regarded Psalm 110 to be Messianic; this question is for them. So, how do you explain the words of King David in Psalms 110:1 (see notes)? "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Jesus asks in verse Matthew 22:45, "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?" This sums up the scriptural dilemma faced by those Pharisees. How could the Messiah be the descendant of King David and be his "Lord" at the same time? The answer: It's a supernatural act of God fulfilled in Jesus himself. And that put a stop to the questions.
|1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on mens shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
14 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.
15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead mens bones, and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
|38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
40 Which devour widows houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
|45 Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,
46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
47 Which devour widows houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.
Jesus really unleashes on the Scribes and Pharisees on this occasion - perhaps his biggest criticism of their hypocrisy ever. Mark and Luke just give an overview of this verbal assault against these hypocrites, but Matthew devotes 36 verses to it. All three synoptic gospels have the phrase, "shall receive the greater damnation." Matthew, however, does a greater coverage of Jesus' words to really drive the point home about these "serpents" (verse 33). In verse 2 he points out that these Jewish leaders have placed themselves on the level with Moses (verses 2-3), but don't observe the very commands they issue. They love the praise they get for appearing righteous. Thus, they apparently wore their phylacteries (verse 5) all the time. These phylacteries were wallets worn on the wrist and around the forehead that contained the Old Testament passages of scripture known as the Shema (see notes on Deuteronomy 6:4-9). These scripture passages (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, see notes, Deuteronomy 11:13-21, see notes, and Numbers 15:37-41, see notes) were (and still are) ceremonially written by a special rabbi tradesman and placed inside these wallets. The Jewish term in the Old Testament and today for these wallets is "tefillin." Today's orthodox Jews just wear them during their prayer times. The whole concept is based upon their understanding of Deuteronomy 6:8, "And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes." The Pharisees apparently liked how "holy" they looked when they wore these phylacteries, so they wore them all the time.
The "borders of their garments" is a significant term in verse 5 as well. This practice arises from Numbers 15:37-41 (see notes). This ancient fashion statement is still the rage. Orthodox Jews are still adamant about observing this law today. The Hebrew word for "fringe" or "border" is "tzitzit," and that's what today's Jews call it. As a matter of fact, this law is particularly significant in light of the two occasions where the people just wanted to touch the "tzitzit" of Jesus' garment in Matthew 9:20 (see notes) and Matthew 14:36 (see notes). This fringe from the garment was considered very sacred; after all, it was decreed by God himself to be worn. Obviously these Pharisees and Scribes had enlarged beyond common practice this "tzitzit" to appear to be more holy than others. I guess they felt that clothes make the man. These Jewish leaders just loved the glory of being regarded as "holy men" in the sight of the everyday Jew.
In verses Matthew 23:6-12 Jesus addresses their excessive desire for recognition by insisting on being addressed as "rabbi" or "master." These were unmerited titles of recognition they arbitrarily bestowed upon one another that were not based upon objective criteria. To them, it was a you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours type of proposition. I'm certain these Pharisees keyed in on Jesus' words of verse 10, "Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ." And exactly who is this Christ (i.e. Messiah)? Well...Jesus himself, of course. Two different words are used here in this discussion. The word "Rabbi" is a transliteration of the Greek which is a transliteration of the Hebrew/Aramaic word denoting an official title of honor. In the same discussion here, the word "master" comes from the Greek word "kathegetes," meaning master, teacher. It kinda reminds me of those I've met in my lifetime who insist on being called "doctor" when people address them.
Then Jesus issues a series of "woes" on them. This word "woe" is a transliteration from the Greek word pronounced nearly the same way and is an expression of intense grief.
Look at the "woes" he pronounces here against the Scribes and Pharisees:
There was nothing good said about these Jewish leaders; even their prayers were corrupt when Jesus says in verse 14, "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." So...what did Jesus really think of these highly-esteemed Jewish leaders. He sums it up in verse 33 when he concludes, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Jesus issues his condemnation on them in verses 37-39 as he laments over Jerusalem.
Don't think for a moment that these Pharisees were good men simply because their faith seemed to exceed that of the Sadducees. Jesus literally pronounces them as worthy of Hell in this passage. Jesus mentions a couple of murders in the Old Testament - the first one (Abel) and the last one recorded in Chronicles (Zacharias); he references the death of Abel at the hand of Cain (Genesis 4:1-8, see notes) with Zacharias (aka Zechariah) who was slain by Judah's King Joash back in II Kings 12:17-21, II Chronicles 24:20-27 (see notes). In other words, Jesus covers the period of Old Testament when righteous people were slain by wicked people. This is not the first time Jesus made this point. He had done so earlier in Luke 11:47-50 (see notes). And what EXACTLY is the point Jesus is making here. It's introduced in verse 30, "And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets." In other words, Jesus goes on to emphasize in verses 31-38 that these Pharisees are EXACTLY the kind of wicked men that persecuted and killed the prophets of old.
Matthew 23:38 has particular significance when Jesus says, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Jesus pulls together two prophetic passages of scripture to make his point here. The first is drawn from Jeremiah 22:5 (see notes), "But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation." In that passage, Jeremiah is prophesying the fall of the "house" of Judah to the Babylonians. That fall was finalized with the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. From that time through Jesus' day, Israel had been subservient to other nations. Since that time, they had been looking for a Messiah, and that leads us to verse 39. Matthew 23:39 has particular significance when Jesus says, "For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." That is a quotation from Psalms 118:26 (see notes), "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD." The "name of the LORD" in that passage is the special name for the God of the Jews, Jehovah (aka Yahweh). After the resurrection of Jesus, the authentication of Jesus as the Messiah will be complete; Jesus is Jehovah.
The widow's mite (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4)
41 ¶ And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
|1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
Jesus commends the widow who gave all as opposed to the rich who gave a portion. Her contribution was 2 mites defined here as being equivalent to a "farthing." In Roman coinage, we are told that 64 farthings are equivalent to a Roman denarion. We see in Matthew 20:2 (see notes) that laborers were paid one penny (denarion) per day to work in the vineyard. Therefore, you can see that 2 mites was a mighty small (pun intended) offering in the context of usefulness. However, for the widow, Jesus says it was HUGE!
Who invited these Greeks to the passover? (John 12:20-22)
|20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
It would be easy to pass over these verses with little notice, but my impression is that this little verbal exchange sets the stage for Jesus' discourse in verses 23-50. Understand the setting: Jesus has just ridden into Jerusalem in royal style fulfilling Old Testament Messianic prophecy as he went (see notes on the Triumphal Entry - Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19). The common people in Jerusalem have embraced Jesus as the Messiah; they're ready for him to begin ruling. Since the Messianic rule prophesied by the prophets of the Old Testament is a world-wide rule, naturally these Greeks are interested in knowing where exactly they fit into the program. The passage doesn't suggest that they're Jewish proselytes, so, it would appear that they've come to meet with the Messiah to get some details on this Messianic rule.
|23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
If context means anything here, and I think it certainly does, Jesus is responding to the request of these Gentiles to meet with him. Jesus sets the record straight in verses 23-28 when he proclaims that he has not come to reign at this point in time, but to die. Reigning comes later. These words regarding his imminent crucifixion are confirmed by a voice from Heaven validating what Jesus has just spoken - a voice which sounded like thunder to some and perceived by others to be an angel speaking to Jesus.
After the voice from Heaven, Jesus goes on to even greater specifics about his purpose here. He again prophesies his death on the cross in verses 31-33. Notice Jesus' reference to Satan in verse 31 when he says, "now shall the prince of this world be cast out." Literally, the death of Jesus and subsequent resurrection will be a tremendous setback to Satan as he attempts to thwart God's plan of redemption. It is interesting that the Jews had sought to stone him on several occasions, but here he prophesies his death on the cross in verses 32-33. The people understood that this was a prophecy of his death as well when they replied to Jesus in verse 34, "We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?"
This is a great turning point for the people. The man they had just welcomed into Jerusalem as royalty is now proclaiming that he has come to Jerusalem to die. What's the deal here? It's time to invoke the suffering prophecy of Isaiah 53 (see notes), and Isaiah 53:1 is quoted here in verse 38. The remainder of Isaiah 53 prophesies the suffering of the Messiah prior to his rule over the earth. However, the people who have welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem were hearsay theologians. Most of them only knew what they had been told by the well-studied in the synagogues. What about the well-studied people? In verses 39-41, John alludes to another of Isaiah's prophecies, Isaiah 6:9-13 (see notes). Isaiah's audience had hearts that were hardened by sin, and so did this audience of Jesus. Verse 42 is very telling regarding these people, "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:"
So, the stage is set for the crucifixion. The Jewish leaders apparently understood the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the necessary crucifixion of the Messiah, but their own selfish interests kept them from believing on Jesus. The common people here did not seem to have information regarding the course of the Messiah (that he must suffer first).
This session continues (see notes on John 12:44-50), and Jesus is very clear in verse 48 when he says, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."