After the religious leaders stop debating with Jesus, He begins to address His disciples, as the crowds listen on.
Jesus tells His disciples to listen to and obey what the scribes and Pharisees say, because they sit in the seat of Moses. But He warns them not to emulate their behavior and lived example. They practice Bad Religion.
Jesus teaches that Bad Religion puts others down in a moral game. He exposes how the Pharisees impose suffocating rules upon people to watch them suffer and bask in their own moral superiority without showing an ounce of pity.
Jesus teaches that Bad Religion is a performance to be noticed by men. He illustrates that the scribes and Pharisees display their (fake) righteousness with what they wear. Their morality is merely a show.
Jesus teaches that the heart of Bad Religion craves honor from men and power to lord over others. This is what motivates the scribes and Pharisees to act as they do. (Do not be like them).
Jesus forbids His disciples from challenging God’s position as Rabbi and Leader. And He forbids them to follow anyone other than God the Father. He does these things while alluding to the Trinity.
Jesus teaches that the remedies for Bad Religion is humility before God and others, as well as contentment in serving regardless of earthly recognition. These are the practices that will make one great in His kingdom.
Jesus speaks the first of eight woes to the scribes and Pharisees. It is issued because they refuse to enter God’s kingdom or to allow anyone else to enter it.
Jesus speaks the second of eight woes to the scribes and Pharisees. It is issued because they pretend to take care of widows, but actually seek to take great advantage of them.
In His third woe, Jesus rebukes the scribes and Pharisees for seeking to make converts to enhance their personal following and status.
In His fourth woe, Jesus condemns blind guides who wrongly teach others a legally justified way to lie. Using their own rationale, Jesus demonstrates how their entire thinking is backwards and wrong.
In His fifth woe to the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus chastises the Pharisees for paying attention to tiny aspects of their rules even as they ignored the larger principles that God’s law pointed toward.
In His sixth woe, Jesus compares the scribes and Pharisees to a cup that is spotlessly clean on the outside but filthy and unfit for use on the inside. He admonishes them to clean the inside first so that the outside may become clean also.
In His seventh woe, Jesus compared the scribes and Pharisees to whitewashed tombs which appear clean on the outside but are full of rotting corpses.
Jesus’s final woe of warning to the scribes and Pharisees was condemning. In it He demonstrated how they were just like their fathers who murdered God’s prophets when they killed John the Baptist.
Jesus’s final public teaching before His arrest was a lament and acknowledgment of His people’s rejection of Him as the Messiah. It was coupled with a prophetic promise that He would be received by His people upon His return to earth at His second coming.
The Bible Says Commentary on the Book of Matthew
Jesus teaches the crowds and His disciples about the hypocrisy and corrupt practices of the scribes and Pharisees. He warns them not to be like these self-exalting men. Instead, they are to be humble and serve as they seek to become great. Jesus issues a series of eight woes to these religious leaders. He laments over Jerusalem before leaving the Temple Mount.
Chapters 23-25 break down as follows: