Wednesday Night Bible Survey

February 22, 1995

Matthew 22:34 - 23:39

Matthew 22


We're now in the final week of Jesus' earthly life.

Jesus is teaching in the temple.

:34-40  The Greatest Commandment

:35  a lawyer

Don't think of Robert Shapiro

This is a person who is an expert in the Law of Moses.

:36  which is the great commandment in the law?

I imagine that they are expecting Jesus to pick the best of the ten commandments (Exodus 20)

1.  No other gods before Him. (vs.3)

2.  No graven images (vs.4)

3.  Don't take God's name in vain (vs.7)

4.  Keep the sabbath (vs.8)

5.  Honor your parents (vs.12)

6.  Don't commit murder (vs.13)

7.  Don't commit adultery (vs.14)

8.  Don't steal (vs.15)

9.  Don't lie (vs.16)

10.  Don't covet (vs.17)

Which one would you pick?

:37  Thou shalt love the Lord

Instead, Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 6:5-AV And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

:39  Love thy neighbor

Jesus now quotes from Leviticus:

Leviticus 19:18-AV Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD.

:40  On these two commandments

If you could keep these two things, loving God and your neighbor, then you would automatically obey all the other laws.

Also, it's interesting to note that when God gave Moses the ten commandments, they were actually in two groups, on two tablets.

The first group was about loving God, commandments 1-4

The second group was about loving your neighbor, commandments 5-10

Also, it's important to realize that you can't do the second commandment of loving your neighbor without doing the first one.

Get the vertical in line, and the horizontal will automatically happen.

If you really love God, then you will love others too.

And if you're not doing the second, you can't be really doing the first.

If you're not loving others, then you must not be really loving God.

Both commandments are very intimately intertwined.

1John 4:7-8 AV Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1John 4:20-21 AV If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

:41-46  David's Son

:42  the son of David

It was well understood that the Messiah, the deliverer of Israel would come from the descendants of the kingly line of David.

Of whom Jesus could trace His own lineage.

:44  The Lord said unto my Lord

Jesus is going to use a passage that was well known among the Jews to refer to the Messiah.

The fact that this was a passage about the Messiah wasn't even an issue with the Pharisees.

Jesus now quotes from: (Look it up!)

Psalms 110:1-AV <<A Psalm of David.>> The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

It's important to understand that the two words for "lord" are different from each other in the Hebrew.

The first word for LORD, in all caps, is the name of God, Yahweh.

The second word for Lord, with lower case letters, is the Hebrew word adon, meaning lord or master.

This is the word that was understood to refer to the Messiah.

What David is saying in this verse is, "Yahweh said unto my Master, Sit thou at my right hand ..."

:45  If David then ...

What Jesus is going to pose to the Pharisees is the well known fact that children should honor their parents, and if anyone is going to call anyone "lord", it is the son calling the father "lord".

So, if David is speaking, and calls his son (or, descendant)  "master", then how can this be his son?


Because though Jesus descended from David and had a human nature, He was also the Son of God, born of the seed of the Holy Spirit, was indeed fully God and fully man, and David must refer to Him as "Lord".

:46  any more questions

He finally put to rest all the hard questions.

From here on out, the Pharisees and Sadducees will simply try to get Jesus arrested.

Matthew 23

:1-12  Three Steps to being a Pharisee

:2  sit in Moses' seat

They claimed to be the only ones who could really teach you what Moses was saying.

They were the keepers of the Law.

:3  whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe

Jesus says to obey what the Pharisees would command out of the Law, not because it was commanded by a Pharisee, but because it was in God's Law.


Sometimes we can tend to discredit a person's message because we get so turned off at what kind of a jerk they are in real life.

Be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water.

:3  for they say, and do not

But just don't learn to be like the Pharisees, who talk a good talk, but their walk doesn't match their talk.

To be a Pharisee, you had to claim to be trying to keep the entire Law.

Which is impossible due to our sin nature.

Sooner or later you're going to blow it.

And the Pharisees would have all kinds of excuses for getting around the parts that they couldn't keep.


First law of Phariseeism:  Don't Live What You Believe

:4  they bind heavy burdens

They're always telling people what to do.


Second law of Phariseeism:  Tell others what to do.

The Pharisees are more concerned about telling other people what's wrong with their lives than they are about living it themselves.

:5  to be seen of men


Third law of Phariseeism:  Do everything for attention

If you have an audience, you perform.

When no one's watching, the show's over.

:5  broad their phylacteries

They based this on

 Deuteronomy 6:8-AV And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

RWP:  The rabbis wore tephillin or prayer-fillets, small leather cases with four strips of parchment on which were written the words of "#Ex 13:1-10,11-16; De 6:4-9; 11:13-21". They took literally the words about "a sign unto thy hand," "a memorial between thine eyes," and "frontlets." "That for the head was to consist of a box with four compartments, each containing a slip of parchment inscribed with one of the four passages. Each of these strips was to be tied up with a well-washed hair from a calf's tail; lest, if tied with wool or thread, any fungoid growth should ever pollute them. The phylactery of the arm was to contain a single slip, with the same four passages written in four columns of seven lines each. The black leather straps by which they were fastened were wound seven times round the arm and three times round the hand. They were reverenced by the rabbis as highly as the scriptures, and, like them, might be rescued from the flames on a sabbath. They profanely imagined that God wore the _tephillin_" (Vincent). It is small wonder that Jesus ridiculed such minute concern for pretentious externalism and literalism. These _tephillin_ "are still worn at the present day on the forehead and left arm by Jews at the daily Morning Prayer" (McNeile) . "The size of the phylacteries indexed the measure of zeal, and the wearing of large ones was apt to take the place of obedience" (Bruce). Hence they made them "broad." The superstitious would wear them as mere charms to ward off evil. {Enlarge the borders} (megalunousin ta kraspeda).

The bigger the phylactery, the more zealous you were for the Lord, supposedly.

But in reality, the bigger the phylactery, the more people will notice that you're wearing one.

:5  enlarge the borders of their garments

The fringes on garments were to help you remember the Law:

Numbers 15:38-39AV Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:  39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:

Even Jesus wore a fringe on His garment:

Matthew 9:20-AV And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment:

It might be kind of like taping a verse on the bathroom mirror to remind yourself about a Scripture.

But to be more obvious about their following the Law, the Pharisees would make bigger fringes.

:6  uppermost rooms at feasts

This isn't talking about separate "rooms", but actually the places at the dinner table.

In the Jewish feasts, everybody reclined on the floor, on cushions, lying around a low table.

The host of the feast reclined at the middle of the table, while the most prominent guests would sit on the right and left side of the host.

:6  chief seats in the synagogues

The chief seats in the synagogues would be the ones up front, on the platform.

They would sit up higher than everybody else, facing the rest of the people, with their back to the chest that held the scrolls of Scripture.

As they sat in church, everybody had to look at them.

:7  Rabbi

There were three degrees, Rab, Rabbi, and Rabboni. The last is the greatest, and means, literally, "My great teacher." (PNT 125)

:8  ye are all brethren

That's the point, we're all really equal.

:9  call no man your father

This doesn't mean you can't call your real dad, "Dad".

It's talking about creating special titles of respect for people.

How can the Roman Catholics justify calling their priests, "Father"?

:10  neither be ye called masters

Here's what's behind all the titles, creating a sense of unequality among people.

If I have a title inserted before my name, then I'm somehow different from you.

It then leads to silly ideas of one person having authority to command others to do their bidding.

I guess this is why I kind of shy away from being called "Pastor Rich".

I don't really want to make a big case about it.

If it really makes you feel better to call me that, okay.  But I don't have to feel comfortable about it.

Just be sure you aren't thinking that I'm somehow your superior.

How come we don't address John as "Printer John", or Bill as "Accountant Bill", or our other Bill as "Dumptruck Bill" (Deb and I did call Bill Nix that for a while.)

:12  he that shall humble himself ...

Here's what God really is concerned about, that we learn humility.

You can learn to be humble, or you can let God teach you.

:13-39  Eight Woes

:13  Woe #1 - Making heaven too difficult

:13  shut up the kingdom

They make it incredibly hard for anybody to keep their standards.

:13  ye neither go in yourselves

Isn't it ironic that these men who claim to be experts, who tell people what was expected of them by God, yet they themselves wouldn't be going into the kingdom of heaven.

Of course they would beg to differ with Jesus.

:13  suffer ye them that are entering

Matthew 23:13-NIV ...nor will you let those enter who are trying to.


We're saved by grace, not works.

Ephesians 2:8-9 AV For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:  9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

This is at the heart of the matter with the Pharisees.

We need to be careful about our own view of works.

We can fall into a type of Phariseeism where we expect people to meet certain standards, and if they don't, then they're not saved.

I'm not saying that God doesn't change a person's life, or that a person doesn't need to repent, but it's a fine line we need to tread.

If we ever make a mistake, I think it should always be towards being too gracious and not too legalistic.

:14  Woe #2 - Religious Predators


Some newer translations don't have this verse because it wasn't found in what they considered to be more authoritative Greek texts.

:14  devour widows' houses

Taking advantage of widows, people who can't defend themselves.

Coming up with schemes to get the widows' money.

I can't help but think of some of the television ministries who plead for money, and often the ones who respond are the poor and needy, the widows.

:14  long prayer

Having a display of devotion to God, but only as a cover for their schemes.

Some have suggested that there might have been a racket where they had the widows pay them to pray for them.


We've made some comments over the past few weeks that could lead you to believe that if a person prays for longer than ten seconds, that they either don't know how to pray, or they are a Pharisee.

I don't mean to be sounding like that.

What we need to be careful about is:

1.  Thinking that God is going to hear us if we pray longer, or with more flowery words.

God is more concerned with the attitude of your heart than in your choice of words.

2.  Trying to impress people with how long we can pray.

In reality, if a person is very, very close to God, then they will LOVE TO PRAY!

It will be very, very hard for them to keep it short.  And I'm not so sure that they should try to keep it too short.

:14  greater damnation

For abusing a show of religiousness.


:15  Woe #3 - For spreading more Pharisaism

:15  compass sea ... one proselyte

Pharisees will travel long and far to make one person finally respond to their doctrine.

I think that even today, you will find in legalistic circles that if someone finally pays a little attention to them (and the groups are usually small), that they'll pour lots of time into that person, polluting them.

I think that Jesus would rather that they just let it die.

:15  twofold more the child of hell

The disciples of Pharisees get worse and worse.

:16-22  Woe #4 - Wrong Priorities

:16  swear by the temple ... the gold of the temple

This is the old subject of making oaths.

If you borrowed money from a friend and promised to pay it back, he might ask you to take an oath to promise that you would.

According to the Pharisees, if you swore by the temple alone, you could get out of the obligation.

But if you swore by the gold of the temple, well, then you'd have to pay it.

For us, it's kind of like signing a legal contract, and reading all the fine print.

By the way they swore, they would lead a person to believe that the only thing that was great about the temple was the gold in it.

They seemed to have a materialistic bent about them.

:18  is guilty

or, is obligated to the oath.

:22  he that shall swear by heaven

Jesus has already told us:

Matthew 5:37-AV But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Be a person who is known for keeping his word, who doesn't have to convince people of his sincerity by swearing some silly oath.

:23-24  Woe #5 - Unbalanced Priorities

:23  tithe of mint and anise and cummin

These are three different spices a person might grow in their herb garden.

The Pharisees were so particular to make sure that God always got a tenth of everything they earned, that they would even divide up the spices growing in their garden.

:23  omitted the weightier matters  ... judgment, mercy, and faith

Their priorities were wrong.

They were so focused on the minute things, that they overlooked the huge, important things of God.


A Quality of Pharisaism:  Focusing on Lesser Things

They are focusing on things that aren't all that important in the overall view of things.

It's important that we keep our balance by going through the whole of Scripture, not just focusing on our favorite things.

:24  strain at a gnat

The Law says not to eat meat with the blood in it.

That's why kosher meat must be bled properly.

So, if you were walking down the street, and a gnat flies into your throat, the Pharisee would gag himself so he wouldn't swallow the gnat and it's blood at the same time.

:24  swallow a camel

By ignoring the more important things of the law, as in verse 23.

Pretty good picture, huh?

:25-26  Woe #6 - Concern about appearances

:25  make clean the outside of the cup

Picture drinking out of a cup that was perfectly spotless on the outside, but inside was full of old, mouldy, sour milk.  Yuk!

:26  cleanse first that which is within the cup


A Quality of Pharisaism:  Concern only for appearances

This is something we need to all be careful about.

It's not what's outside that counts, it's what's on the inside that counts.


Twenty years ago, more denominational churches didn't want the hippies, at least not unless they cut their hair and put on suits and ties first.

But Pastor Chuck decided to love them the way they were, and sure enough, they would change later.

Do you want changes to happen on the outside of your life?

Then look to cleaning up the inside first, the outside will come naturally, all by itself.

:27-28  Woe #7 - Deceiving appearances

:27  whited sepulchres

tombs that were painted nice and white on the outside, very pretty!

:28  outwardly appear righteous unto men

Appearances can be deceiving.

Outwardly a person may be doing the right thing.

But is it because there's been an inward change of heart first

Or is it because they are just putting on a show.

When it's just a show, it can start to get people thinking that if they want to be pleasing to God, all they have to do is clean up the outside of their life.

But God is concerned with the condition of your heart.

:29-39  Woe #8 - Rejection of God's messengers

:34  ye shall kill and crucify


A Quality of Pharisaism:  Rejection of God's true work

They are so wrapped up in their own comfortable little system, that they aren't going to want to listen when God really speaks.

When Jesus is before them, they reject Him.

They will reject the apostles in the future too.

:35  righteous Abel

The son of Adam and Eve, killed by his jealous brother Cain.

See Gen. 4

:35  the blood of Zacharias

2Chr.24:20-21 - Good king Joash turned bad and ended up killing the priest Zacharias right in the temple!

Why does Jesus use these two examples?

You might think that He's thinking of martyrs from A to Z

It's kind of like that, but it's probably due to the books of the Old Testament.

Abel is found in the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis.

Zacharias is found in the last book of the Old Testament, 2Chronicles.

2Chronicles is the last book in the HEBREW Old Testament, they use a different order than we do.

:37  a hen gathereth her chickens

A great picture of God's compassion upon His people.\

:38  your house ... desolate

God would be turning His back on the Jews, for a period of time.

But God isn't done with the Jews.  They will once again be the focus of God's attention during the tribulation period.

:39  till ye shall say, Blessed is He ...

Now wait!  Didn't they already say that?

That happened earlier in the week, on Palm Sunday, back in Mat.21:9!

That happened when the Messiah came into the city of Jerusalem, as fulfilling Psalm 118:26.

But it will happen again, when Jesus comes back again., and too Jerusalem.

Zechariah 12:10-AV And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.

The second time, the Jews will be receiving Him as their Messiah!