Witness Against Yourself
December 15, 2021
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' guilt. (Matthew 23:29-32).
In this final condemnation of the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus exposes the true nature of those who held the office of priest in Israel. The hypocrisy of these men was blatant and accusatory.
Throughout the Old Testament, God demonstrated His great love, grace, and mercy upon His chosen people by sending the prophets to the northern tribes of Israel and the southern tribes of Judah to call His people to repent of their sin and return to faith in Him. But they would not. Instead, they killed the prophets God sent. Throughout their history they continually rebelled against God by breaking His commandments. Their sin became so great that God removed them from the Promised Land by sending Assyria to conquer the northern tribes and Babylon to conquer the southern tribes.
Prior to, and in the days of Jesus, the Scribes and Pharisees lauded the efforts of the prophets and built shrines to them. Realizing that many of those Old Testament servants of God had been persecuted and killed by their own ancestors, the priests demonized their forefathers for their actions and self-righteously declared they would not have been a party to such actions had they lived in that time. Their hypocrisy is revealed in the fact that God had sent one final Prophet to call His people to repentance of sin and faith in Him - His Son, Jesus Christ. At that very time the priests were plotting to kill Him just as their forefathers killed the prophets before Him.
Jesus was well aware of their self-righteous hypocrisy and stated they were true sons of those who killed the prophets; they bore the same hatred for God and His Word that their ancestors bore, thus accusing themselves of the sin of their predecessors. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' guilt was God’s indictment against them. They would complete their father’s guilt of sin against God by killing His Son, the Christ whom He sent as His last great effort to save His people.
It is revealing how much modern man is like the ancient Jewish priests. It is heart-breaking the lengths people will go to thumb their nose at God. We are as guilty, if not more so, that these priests because we have the greater revelation of God’s grace, mercy, and love than they had. We have the record of the atoning death, the glorious resurrection, the gracious intercession, and the immanent return of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet we reject Him and call His life and work a myth or irrelevant as the Scribes and Pharisees did long ago. God help us!
“Father, forgive us for taking the truth of the Gospel and calling it a lie, for taking Your Son and regarding Him less than the true Lord and Savior that He is, for taking Your Word, the Bible, and calling it myth and legend. Forgive us, Lord. Amen.”