Daily Word

Turn up the heat | Matthew 23:29-33

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 and you 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.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are [aa]sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 [ab]Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You snakes, you [ac]offspring of vipers, how [ad]will you escape the [ae]sentence of [af]hell?

Matthew 23:29-33 (NASB) 中文

Wave of woe

In the previous posts starting back in chapter 22, Jesus responds to the attacks of the religious leaders. He now continues a wave of woes (judgements) against them, these hypocritical blind guides. The first judges them for blocking the way for others to enter Heaven. Woe 2 condemns them for converting people to their kind of false Judaism – leaving them further from salvation. The 3rd is judging their misplaced values. The 4th judgment, misguided giving and majoring on the minors. For the 5th woe, Jesus addressed their false focus on outward appearance rather than inward holiness. Judgment 6 was the Bondo job: again regarding their focus on outward appearance while neglecting inner holiness. Now for the final woe.

Turn up the heat

Just when you thought Jesus’ judgment on them couldn’t get worse, we get this woe. He says they are headed to a “sentence of hell”. There’s no kid gloves here. But Jesus, the God who is love, still loved these religious leaders. He uses these stern words to shock them, to wake them up, that some might repent and believe.


The AMP version aptly adds “self-righteous” to the description of these religious leaders. The claim that they would never have killed the prophets like their forefathers hundreds of years ago had if it were them. Talk about throwing their forefathers under the bus! Of course Jesus doesn’t fall for this lie. He calls them out on it immediately. 

Righteous anger

Can you sense in His words that He is not a little angry? We saw this earlier (Matthew 21:12-13) when He first entered Jerusalem and upset the market in the Temple, God’s house of prayer. As we said above, His anger is not only justified, but it is based on love and seeking God’s will to be done. 


  • Do we ever compare ourselves to other “sinners” thinking they are worse than us? Mind you, the only difference between you and the mass murderer is GRACE! Thank God! Pray for His grace to abound.
  • How do we know if our anger is righteous, like Jesus’? “We can know for sure that our anger or indignation is righteous when it is directed toward what angers God Himself.” (gotquestions.org)

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