““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ “So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” Matthew 23:29-33, NAS95.
Jesus was in rare form in his last week before His passion. If He would have simply played the politician, He would have skated happily by into the following year, enjoying the festivities at the Passover feast.
Yet Jesus would not forsake His integrity or call while confronting the religious Jews of His day. Though they held the commendable position as keepers of Judaism, even by Jesus' standards (see vs. 3), they did not walk the walk. Instead, they hid behind their "truth."
In His parting conversations, Jesus removed the gloves and clearly confronted the inward and outward decay that their form of faith was producing. He could not allow it to be unaddressed.
Jesus does the same thing with us. If we follow Him, He will speak both words of encouragement and love along with words of correction and conviction. He uses all of these words because He desires us to steer clear from the pitfalls of religion and be restored from the folly of self-deception.
Jesus may have escaped the cross for another season, but He felt it of greater worth to bring the final prophetic words to these lost religious sheep. The words sound hard, but they would have been truly healing to those who could hear them.
Let's listen to the full spectrum of Christ's words. They will bring the encouragement and restoration we need to live the abundant life.
Have a great day!