Judgment for the Self-Righteous
December 17, 2021
Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, 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, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar (Matthew 23:34-35).
The word ‘therefore’ is transitional, signaling a conclusion to an argument or a body of information. Jesus pronounced 7 ‘woes’ or words of judgment upon the Scribes and Pharisees for their many forms of hypocrisy. He then made a final statement to them that ‘sealed the deal’, that indicated they would fill up the measure of their fathers’ guilt (Matthew 23:32).
The evil work of the priest would not stop with killing Jesus. He would send out prophets, wise men, and scribes (the Apostles and others who preached, taught, and wrote the New Testament). They would fair no better than the prophets of the Old Testament. They would be condemned, jailed, tortured, and executed as well - some by stoning, crucifixion, and sword.
In His summation of judgment Jesus announced the measure of the judgment upon them, on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah. Abel was the first man killed for his righteousness (Genesis 4:3-8). Zechariah was the last recording prophet of the Old Testament canon martyred for his righteousness (John the Baptizer was the last of the Old Testament prophets, but was a New Testament personality).
What is the judgment of Christ upon them? They, the nation of Israel, would be held accountable for the deaths of all the righteous men and women who lived prior to their generation, and for the deaths of Jesus Christ and His Apostles and disciples. In this, the measure of their fathers’ guilt is full. God was at an end of His patience with the Jews. In A.D. 70 He would send the Roman army to completely destroy Jerusalem, devastate Judea and Galilee, and scatter the Jews to the nations of the world. But that would not be the end of His judgment.
When Jesus stood before the Jewish mob at the bema of Pontius Pilate, Matthew records, When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified (Matthew 27:24-26). Since that time, the Jews have suffered at the hands of the nations to this very day. Their suffering will continue until the day they accept Jesus as Messiah.
“Father, remind us there are consequences for sin. Though the saved will not be condemned, they will be chastised for sin because of Your great love for us. However, may we be all the more diligent to present the Gospel of Jesus to those who are not saved so they may brought from condemnation to eternal life. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”