Search Tools

For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

23:5 phylacteries. These were small boxes containing Scripture verses.

23:9 no man your father. This commandment would not apply to recognizing one’s biological father by this name. The point is that no man should be regarded or addressed as an authoritative spiritual master, playing a role equal to that of our heavenly Father or even as an intermediary between us and Him. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). The same would apply to any other title or position (e.g., Rabbi, Master, Doctor, Reverend) which might imply spiritual authority or power above that of ordinary believers, all of whom have been made “kings and priests unto God and His Father” (Revelation 1:6).

23:13 woe unto you. Jesus pronounces eight “woes” on the scribes (or lawyers) and Pharisees in this chapter (Matthew 23:13,14,15,16,23,25,27,29). Seven times He calls them “hypocrites” and five times He says they are “blind.” He calls each a “child of hell” (Matthew 23:15), and says they are like “whited sepulchres…full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27), and also “full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:28). They are, He says, “serpents” and a “generation of vipers” (Matthew 23:33). One receives the impression that God hates the sin of hypocrisy in religious leaders more than most other sins! This New Testament language used here by the Lord Jesus is as severely condemnatory as anything found in the Old Testament. Religionists such as these have all though history persecuted genuine believers, especially faithful teachers and preachers.

23:23 tithe of mint and anise. Tithing as such is nowhere commanded in the New Testament, although this verse is often used as such a commandment. However, the context is that of the law, rather than grace. Even under the law, Jesus stressed that judgment, mercy and faith were more important than tithing. The New Testament principle of money stewardship is deduced from such Scriptures as I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 9:6-11; Philippians 4:10-19; Galatians 6:6; Hebrews 13:16; etc.

23:35 Zacharias. The identity of this Zacharias is uncertain. He was not the Zechariah who was the author of the book of Zechariah, but possibly may have been the priest Zechariah who was stoned in the temple court by order of King Joash (II Chronicles 24:20-21).

23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem. When a name is repeated like this by God, the message is always urgent. See note on Acts 9:4.

23:38 desolate. This prophecy was fulfilled in grim detail when the Romans destroyed the temple in A.D. 70 and the city in A.D. 135, sending the Jewish survivors into worldwide exile for almost two thousand years.

23:39 Blessed is he. This affirmation, prophesied in Psalm 118:26, had been sung by the Jerusalem crowds when Jesus entered the city just a few days before, but they did not really understand who He was, and their enthusiasm was quickly rejected and dampened by the priests. The result was the age-long exile and suffering of the Jews. Finally, however, when Christ comes again, in power and great glory, the nation will recognize Him in deep repentance and will, indeed, say “Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

About the New Defender's Study Bible