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Chapter 23

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,

2“The scribes and Pharisees have taken Moses’ seat. 3So do everything they tell you, and observe it all, but do not do as they do, for they talk but do not act. 4They tie up heavy loads and have them put on men’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. 5They do everything they do to have men see it. They wear wide Scripture texts as charms, and they wear large tassels, 6and they like the best places at dinners and the front seats in the synagogues, 7and to be saluted with respect in public places, and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ 8But you must not let people call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9And you must not call anyone on earth your father, for you have only one father, your heavenly Father. 10And you must not let men call you master, for you have only one master, the Christ. 11But he who is greatest among you must be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13“But alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, for you lock the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven in men’s faces, for you will neither go in yourselves nor let those enter who are trying to do so. 15Alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, for you scour land and sea to make one convert, and when he is converted you make him twice as fit for the pit as you are. 16Alas for you, you blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the sanctuary, it does not matter, but if anyone swears by the gold of the sanctuary, it is binding.’ 17Blind fools! which is greater, the gold, or the sanctuary that makes the gold sacred? 18You say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it does not matter, but if anyone swears by the offering that is on it, it is binding.’ 19You blind men! Which is greater, the offering, or the altar that makes the offering sacred? 20Anyone who swears by the altar is swearing by it and by everything that is on it, 21and anyone who swears by the sanctuary is swearing by it and by him who dwells in it; 22and anyone who swears by heaven is swearing by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

23“Alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, for you pay tithes on mint, dill, and cummin, and you have let the weightier matters of the Law go—justice, mercy, and integrity. But you should have observed these, without overlooking the others. 24You blind guides! straining out the gnat, and yet swallowing the camel! 25Alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, for you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! You must first clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside may be clean too. 27Alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, for you are like white-washed tombs! They look well on the outside, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead, and all that is unclean. 28So you outwardly appear to men to be upright, but within you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29“Alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, for you build tombs for the prophets, and decorate the monuments of the upright, 30and say, ‘If we had been living in the times of our fathers, we would not have joined them in the murder of the prophets.’ 31So you bear witness against yourselves that you are descended from the murderers of the prophets. 32Go on and fill up the measure of your forefathers’ guilt. 33You serpents! You brood of snakes! How can you escape being sentenced to the pit? 34This is why I am going to send you prophets, wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and hunt from one town to another; 35it is that on your heads may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth from the blood of Abel the upright to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah’s son, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar! 36I tell you, all this will come upon this age!

37“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! murdering the prophets, and stoning those who are sent to her, how often I have longed to gather your children around me, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you refused! 38Now I leave you to yourselves. 39For I tell you, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessed be he who comes in the Lord’s name!’ ”

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