Matthew, Chapter 23

- ל ו ו -

Jesus Laments How Jerusalem Murders Its Prophets

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.(Matthew 23:23-28)

Jesus continues to condemn the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who honor the memory of past prophets yet behave exactly like the outraged mobs and kings who killed them. Jesus rebukes the people’s sinful ways and their neglect of the true faith. He knows that he will suffer the same bitter fate as those past prophets to whom the people refused to listen. By rejecting the opportunity to listen and repent, the people are summoning their own future destruction. Instead of acting as a bridge between people and the divine presence, religious figures are concerned solely with themselves, their own needs, and their prestige. As such, they add discord to the world and fan the flames of conflict and animosity.

Unselfishness is seeking to receive for the purpose of sharing; unlike selfishness, which is seeking to receive for our own benefit.