Matthew 23

1Then Jesus talked to the people and to his disciples. 2He said, ‘The scribes and Pharisees have taken Moses’ place. 3So obey and do everything they tell you to do. But do not do what they do. They say what should be done, but they do it not. 4They make heavy loads and put them on people’s backs. But they themselves will not put up even one finger to help carry the loads. 5They do all their work to be seen by people. They wear bigger and bigger boxes with God’s word in. And they make wider and wider borders on their gowns. 6They want to sit in the best places at the feasts. They want to have the front seats in the meeting houses. 7They want people to greet them in the market, and to call them "Teacher". 8But people should not call you "Teacher". You have one Teacher. And you are all brothers. 9‘Do not call anyone on earth your "Father". You have one Father. He is in heaven. 10People should not call you "Master". You have one Master. He is the Christ. 11The person who is greatest among you will help the others. 12Anyone who puts himself up will be brought down. And anyone who puts himself down will be brought up.

13‘You scribes and Pharisees will have trouble. You are not true to yourselves! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven so people cannot go in. You yourselves do not go in, and you stop those who were going in. 14‘You scribes and Pharisees will have trouble. You who are not true to yourselves! You take away the homes of women whose husbands are dead. You cover up your wrong ways by talking big to God for a long time. Because of that, you will be punished harder. 15‘You scribes and Pharisees will have trouble. You who are not true to yourselves! You travel over sea and land to win one person to believe what you believe. And when he believes, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are. 16‘You blind leaders will have trouble. You say that if anyone makes a promise in the name of the temple, he does not have to keep that promise. But if anyone makes a promise in the name of the gold on the temple, he must keep that promise. 17‘You fools and blind men! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold holy? 18And you say that if anyone makes a promise in the name of God’s altar, he does not have to keep that promise. But if anyone makes a promise in the name of the sacrifice, he must keep that promise. 19‘You fools and blind people! Which is greater, the sacrifice or the place that makes the sacrifice holy? 20So if anyone makes a promise by God’s altar, he makes his promise by it and by all that is on it. 21If anyone makes a promise by the temple, he makes his promise by the temple and by God who lives in the temple. 22If anyone makes a promise by heaven, he makes his promise by God’s big chair called a throne and by God who sits on the throne. 23‘You scribes and Pharisees will have trouble. You who are not true to yourselves! You give God a tenth part of small garden plants. But you have not done those bigger matters of the law. You have not judged in the right way. You have not been kind. You have not believed God. You should be doing these things and the other things too. 24You blind leaders! You take a fly out of your cup, but you drink down a big animal like a camel! 25‘You scribes and Pharisees will have trouble. You who are not true to yourselves! You wash the outside of a cup and a dish clean. But inside they are full of greed and wrong ways! 26You blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cup and the dish so that the outside will be clean too. 27‘You scribes and Pharisees will have trouble. You who are not true to yourselves! You are like graves that have been painted white. Outside they look very nice. But inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of dirt. 28So it is with you. You look right on the outside. But inside you are full of lies and wrong ways. 29‘You scribes and Pharisees will have trouble. You who are not true to yourselves! You build places to bury the prophets and fix up graves of good men. 30You say, "If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have helped to kill the prophets of God." 31So you prove that you are the sons of the men who killed the prophets. 32Finish doing what your fathers started to do. 33You snakes-a whole family of snakes! You cannot get away! You will be judged and sent to hell.

34That is why I send you prophets, wise men, and teachers. You will kill some of them and nail them to a cross. And you will beat some of them in your meeting houses and trouble them from one town to another. 35So you will be punished for all the blood of every good man that is on the ground. I mean all the blood from the time of Abel, who was a good man, to Zechariah, the son of Barachiah. You killed him between the temple and God’s altar. 36I tell you the truth. The people who are still living now will be punished for all these things. 37‘Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You kill the prophets. You throw stones to kill the men who are sent to you! How often I have wanted to gather your people together, as a mother hen gathers her little ones under her wings. But you would not come! 38Now you are left alone in your house. 39I tell you this. You will not see me again until the time when you say, "God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord." ‘

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