“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 damnations 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.” Matthew 24:29-35
Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for being hypocrites, for saying one thing and doing another; for putting on a show of importance designed to bring them the praise of men.
They were the religious leaders of the day, preaching religion but having none. They were self-righteous and self-important …. hypocrites.
In this passage, Jesus condemned them because they said that if they had lived during the times of the Old Testament prophets, they would not have had any part in killing those that God sent to try and reach Israel.
And yet, they were the very ones that hated Jesus for His teaching and would not stop until He had been crucified. They were the very ones that persecuted and killed the early teachers and preachers of the Gospel.
As I read this passage the other day, I was reminded of the last time I was reading in the Book of Exodus about the way the Israelites repeatedly turned against Moses and complained against God for bringing them out of Egypt.
When I read that account, I found myself wondering how they could have not seen all of God’s working on their behalf, and why they didn’t completely trust Him for their needs and survival?
They had seen what He did for them in bringing them out of their bondage. They had seen His undertaking against Pharaoh and his army. They were miraculously being fed manna from heaven.
The question in the back of my mind was “Were they blind? Stupid? Having no common sense?”
Why didn’t they trust Him to get them into the Promised Land and defend them against its inhabitants?
“If I had lived back then ….”
It’s easy to sit on this side of history and judge those that have gone before.
That is, until the Lord KINDLY reminded me of all the times I have questioned, doubted, murmured and complained when things weren’t just the way I wanted them; of the times I worried about the future and the outcome of some really tough situations.
Does this make me a hypocrite?
I pray not.
But with the harsh indictment Jesus leveled against those religious leaders, hypocrisy had better be one thing I diligently fight against.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012