Matthew 23



In Matthew 23, Jesus delivers a powerful and direct rebuke to the religious leaders, condemning their hypocrisy and calling for a genuine, heart-centered relationship with God. This chapter reflects Jesus' concern for authenticity, justice, and mercy in religious practice.


  1. Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-12): Jesus warns the crowds and his disciples about the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. He acknowledges their authority but criticizes them for not practicing what they preach and for seeking recognition and honor from others.

  2. Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-36): Jesus pronounces a series of woes, or condemnations, upon the scribes and Pharisees. He accuses them of blocking the way to the kingdom of heaven, exploiting widows, and neglecting justice and mercy. He also condemns their focus on external rituals while neglecting internal matters of the heart.

  3. Lament over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-39): Jesus expresses sorrow and laments over the city of Jerusalem, foreseeing its future destruction. He compares himself to a mother hen wanting to gather her chicks under her wings, but the people of Jerusalem are unwilling.