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Matthew 23 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
2 "The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God's Law. 2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
3 You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
4 "Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't think of lifting a finger to help 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. 5 "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;
6 They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;
7 preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.' 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'
8 "Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. 8 "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
9 Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. 9 And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
10 And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them - Christ. 10 Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
11 "Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
12 If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13 "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God's kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won't let anyone else in either. 13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
15 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned. 15 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
16 "You're hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, 'If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that's nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that's serious.' 16 "Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.'
17 What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?
18 And what about this piece of trivia: 'If you shake hands on a promise, that's nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that's serious'? 18 You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.'
19 What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
20 A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless. 20 Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.
21 21 And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.
22 22 And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it.
23 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God's Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment - the absolute basics! - you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. 23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
24 Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that's wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons? 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. 25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
26 Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. 27 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.
28 People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
29 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints. 29 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.
30 And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands. 30 And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
31 You protest too much! You're cut from the same cloth as those murderers, 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.
32 and daily add to the death count. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!
33 "Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? 33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
34 It's on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation - and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse. 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
35 "You can't squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah's son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 All this, I'm telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation 36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.
37 "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God's news! How often I've ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn't let me. 37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
38 And now you're so desolate, nothing but a ghost town 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate.
39 What is there left to say? Only this: I'm out of here soon. The next time you see me you'll say, 'Oh, God has blessed him! He's come, bringing God's rule!'" 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' "