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Lesson # Matt. 23:3-4
Study Material - Matt. 23:3-4
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3 All [pas] therefore [oun] whatsoever [an] [hosos] they bid [epo] you [humin] observe [tereo] , that observe [tereo] and [kai] do [poieo] ; but [de] do [poieo] not [me] ye after [kata] their [autos] works [ergon] : for [gar] they say [lego] , and [kai] do [poieo] not [ou] .
4 For [gar] they bind [desmeuo] heavy [barus] burdens [phortion] and [kai] grievous to be borne [dusbastaktos] , and [kai] lay [epitithemi] them on [epi] men's [anthropos] shoulders [omos] ; but [de] they themselves will [thelo] not [ou] move [kineo] them [autos] with one of their [autos] fingers [daktulos] . KJV-Interlinear
3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them. 4 'And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. NAS
The religious leadership of Judea and even up and until our very day, as they pursue the precepts of Judaism or religion as we have defined it in our study, lack truth, they lack legitimate authority, they lack integrity, and they lack sympathy for the people they have assumed high office over, and presume to judge within the context of their human inventions of rules and regulations.
God said to Ezekiel of the leadership of Israel, Ezek 34:2-5, 'Son of Man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord God, 'Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and cloth yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. And they were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.'
Now in verses 3 and 4, that dishonest and unsympathetic attitude is displayed. They are hypocrites to the max. Jesus tells it like it is. The Pharisees and other leaders were probably shocked at the discourse, and that no doubt led to their intensified plotting to get rid of Jesus - permanently.
Their hypocrisy? They assumed the chair of Moses. They assumed on themselves an authority from God, and here in this respect Jesus tells the crowd, that in as much as what they teach is consistent with the scriptures, then obey what is taught.
And, not only obey the teaching of legitimate doctrine, but continue to observe the principles of doctrine in ones everyday life, 'do and observe.' Observation here also means discernment. Not only obey, but do not do so blindly. We are all to test that which we are taught. But again, we test the teaching of the Word of God, not with our emotion, not with our preconceived ideas, but we are to test the teaching of Bible doctrine with objective comparisons of other scriptural doctrines taught. We compare doctrine to doctrine and from that we determine its meaning and purpose. Just saying or thinking, 'I don't agree with that,' doesn't cut it. If you have nothing definitive to replace a principle of doctrine with, then you are guilty of being arbitrary. And that is usually a product of indifference and wishful compromise.
'Do and observe.' Hear what is taught, and that which is scriptural, then do it. Those things which are of human invention, of human regulation, of human design and of which anyone can do, are generally not of the spiritual life. For example, eating certain things on certain days. Refraining from the eating of certain foods on certain days. These are all of human invention and have nothing whatsoever to do with the Word of God. You can probably think of other examples of ritual or taboo, from the various religions out there in the world.
Do not follow the life style of the hypocrite. They demand of the masses things that they themselves will not do. Religious leaders are guilty of this. Certainly politicians are guilty of this.
Later on in verse 23, we will see that the pettiness so saturated their thinking that they demanded that every tenth seed from certain spices (very small and very insignificant seeds) should be given to the Temple. The principles of justice, of mercy, and of faith are totally excluded from their thinking process and very small insignificant seeds, of which carry virtually no value whatsoever, have been elevated to such a high standard that if someone did not comply with the standard, they would be severely punished - over a seed!!! A totally absurd application of justice and the principles of life.
Unbelievers, and negative believers alike will allow petty thing to become so great as to distort truth and justice, and burden the masses with things that no one can abide by.
The hypocrisy continues as the Pharisees did not apply the same standards of life to themselves. They came up with exception after exception for themselves. But they did not lift even a single finger to either place themselves in harms way, nor to lift the burdens from the lives of the people they had assumed responsibility for, by taking the seat of Moses.
Religion (which is false) and politics (which pursues illegitimacy) have two things in common. They assume power and authority which are both unauthorized and unnecessary. They presume to maintain their hold on their authority and power by burdening the masses with rule after rule, and with regulation after regulation. All of society can become oppressed and destitute of freedom and liberty when this kind of leadership overtakes a nation. And we have of course witnessed this in various third world nations in recent times.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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