"So Do and Observe!" Matthew 23: 1-12

“So Do And Observe!” 


        Matthew 23:1-12

This Week’s Core Belief: Authority of the Bible I believe the Bible is the Word of God and has the right to command my belief and action.

2 Timothy 3:16-1716 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Scripture: Matthew 23:1-12

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 

The Message of this Passage: 

The communicators commentary introduces this section of Matthew this way:

               “Matthew Henry comments, ‘It is a gracious ambition to covet to be really more

 holy than others, but it is a proud ambition to covet to appear so. It is good to excel

 in real piety, but not to exceed in outward shows.’

 All of us are probably concerned with personal holiness, but are we equally concerned not to show others just how holy we are? Is your service to the church done for God’s eyes or the eyes of other people?

The content of this passage concluded Jesus’ public ministry, and also His interchange with the scribes and Pharisees. The passage begins with a message to the crowd about the scribes and Pharisees, exposing them as the false shepherds spoken of by the prophets (Jer. 23; Ezek. 22–23; Amos 7; Zech. 13; Zeph. 3).  Jesus’ message to the crowd concerning the Pharisees opens this section (vv. 1–12). In a matter-of-fact statement Jesus said the Pharisees occupy Moses’ seat; they are the legal experts and exponents of the Law; and Jesus affirmed respect for their role in representing the Law, but said the people were to avoid following the practice of the leaders who failed to interface word and deed.

The commendation was for their representation of Moses. But Jesus qualified their leadership by several observations: 

first, they multiplied commands upon individuals which they themselves would not practice;

second, they practiced their religious traditions for the recognition they received of men; 

third, they had respect of person, for they loved chief places in the assembly and wanted to be greeted with honor in society.

 Jesus condemned their status-seeking, and contrasted their practice

 with the New Community that He was creating. 

The New People of God have one Teacher, the Christ; one level, all are brethren; one Father before whom all bow, the Father in heaven; and one measure of greatness, that of being servants who humble themselves in service. This is a remarkable outline of worship and relationship in the Church, among those called by Christ to be His disciples.”

Questions to consider:

  • Read Matthew 23:1-12. What were Jesus' biggest issues with the teachers of the law and the Pharisees?

  • What was Jesus' warning to the people about the teachers of the law and the Pharisees?

  • What motivated the behavior of the Pharisees? (23:5-7) 

  • Why is the Word of God our authority? What happens when it is not? 

  • How would you explain integrity?

  • Why is it that most prideful people do not see their pride? 

  • What is your opinion; is it more important to know Scripture or to follow it? 

  • How and why do motives create our actions and show our devotion? 

  • Why do most people who are hypocritical seem to be blind to what they are? 

  • The Bible makes it clear that integrity is of the utmost importance for the Christian leader. Why is that? What can you do to be a person who is focused on integrity? 

  • Notes: