"Woe!"

John Maassen

READ : Matthew 23:1-8, 23-26

I don’t remember spankings from my childhood. But tongue-lashings I do! We dread the chastising tongue more than we do the rod! Jesus’ righteous anger surges forth in a series of “woes” directed at the religious leaders of His time. Why?

First, their actions did not match their words. Do ours? We must practice what we preach.

Second, they demanded precise keeping of the law. But they did not help their followers to do it. But Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).

Third, they were arrogant, playing to the multitudes. Jesus reminds them, “You are all brethren . . . He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

The result of this hypocrisy was catastrophic. Not being godly themselves, they kept others from godliness as well. No wonder Christ was angry!

But that anger surged forth from deep love. For then he weeps, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not. Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate” (Matt. 23:37,38). Christ’s “woes” are for our welfare! They warn us but also remind us that “the love of God is broader than the measure of our mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.”

PRAYER

Help us to be what we profess to be, heavenly Father. Give us the power to be real! In Jesus’ name. Amen.