Thursday, September 08, 2011

Matthew 23:29-36


29 ``Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and 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 sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 ``Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 ``You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell ? ``Therefore,, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 ``Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation."

Jesus points out how the Scribes and Pharisees take care of the tombs of the martyrs and beautify their memorials and make the claim that, if they had lived in the old days, they would not have killed the prophets and the men of God. But that is exactly what they would have done, and what they are going to do shortly.

Jesus is quite clear that the murder taint is still there. He knows that now he must die, and that in the days to come his messengers will be persecuted and ill-treated, rejected and killed.

He says that this blight of murder among the leadership of the Jewish people has occurred from the beginning! He says from Cain to Zacharias. In the Hebrew bible the first book is Genesis (the first murder involving Cain) and the last book is II Chronicles (the last murder in the biblical story was Zacharias). Jesus is saying that "rejection" even to the point of murdering God's chosen men, has been the nature of the Jewish leadership throughout their history. What a tragedy! God's chosen people, greatly loved, has continually turned against God and there will be a day of reckoning.

We must evaluate our own lives today. We are the only message of the love of God that most people have today. They will either see the love of God in and through us or they won't. So, are you a clear light that attracts others or do you stand as a hindrance?