The Woes of the Religiously Misguided

Continuing our Lenten preaching series, “Scandalous Jesus,” this past weekend at Eastbrook we traveled through Matthew 23. In this chapter-long discourse, Jesus sharply names casts deep shadows over the ways the teachers of the law and Pharisees have lost their way with God. This is no simple passage, however, but calls each of us to a response with Jesus ourselves.

This message is from the ninth part of our longer journey through the Gospel of Matthew, which includes “Family Tree,” “Power in Preparation,” “Becoming Real,” “The Messiah’s Mission,” “Stories of the Kingdom,” “Who Do You Say I Am?“, “‘Tis the Reason,” and “Jesus Said What?!

You can find the message video and outline below. You can also view the entire series here. Join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” (Matthew 23:3)

Three Critiques of Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees (23:1-6)

They are inconsistent (23:3)

They burden people (23:4)

They are concerned with appearances and reputation (23:5-6)

A Contrast for Jesus’ Disciples (23:8-12)

Shunning titles and praise from people (23:8-10)

Following Jesus’ humble path (23:11-12)

Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees (23:13-36)

1. They keep people out of God’s kingdom (23:13)

2. They make converts who become as misguided as them (23:15)

3. They make oaths that show their blindness about spiritual matters (23:16-22)

4. They practice detailed obedience while disobeying in important matters (23:23-24)

5. They look clean on the outside but are polluted in their inner lives (23:25-26)

6. They look righteous on the outside but are hypocrites on the inside (23:27-28)

7. They stand violently against God’s purposes and messengers (23:29-36)

A Lament from Jesus over Jerusalem (23:37-39)

Jesus’ desire to gather for healing (23:37)

The reality of impending destruction (23:38-39)


Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Matthew 23:11-12.
  • Take some time to pray through Matthew 23, letting God reveal any areas where you have gotten off-track in your life with God. Confess and repent of those wrong ways in prayer. If there is someone you need to make things right with, prayerfully reach out to them.
  • Prepare for Holy Week by reading Matthew 26 and 27.

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