Wednesday Matthew 23:19-36

Prayer: Speak to me, O God, through your word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A measure of wickedness

32 Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors.

I am not very familiar with today’s text.  Jesus really lays it on thick.  When we start examining ourselves, as the Pharisees may have it gets pretty scary.  Our devotion writer suggests that we measure as soon as late rains or sand and filling a cup.  Imagine all our sins, added with a all of the sins of our ancestors to the point of overflowing.  How can we withstand the judgment under such circumstances?  All of this would be impossible to measure up.  And so, the Pharisees measured judgment of their ancestors that ignored themselves.

It is so easy for us to judge the past and ignore the present.  It’s that was Jesus’ point.  The only hope we have for redemption is through Jesus and his resurrection.  Our devotion writer asks; “the measuring cup would thus be filled to the brim.  What does it take for us to recognize the sins of the past and discontinue them going forward?”

Prayer: “Merciful God, forgive us when we perpetuate the CNN’s of the past.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.”


Matthew 23:19-36

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

19 How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; 21 and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; 22 and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. 28 So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. 33 You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 35 so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.

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