HOST: Ron House
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
After warning His listeners not to follow the example of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus turns His attention to the Jewish leaders as He speaks to them directly. “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Consider the seriousness of the accusation that Jesus levies against them in this text. They have shut up the kingdom of heaven. For those who were in leadership positions among God’s people, those who were to be examples of righteousness and spiritual leaders among the Jews, their responsibility was to lead the people toward God and salvation through obedience to the Law of Moses. But by their actions and example, they had actually done the opposite. There were leading people away from God and denying them entrance into the kingdom of heaven. For a leader of God’s people, could there be any worse testimony given against him than that he has shut up the kingdom of heaven to the very ones that he is supposed to be leading into that kingdom? What a difficult accusation it must have been for the scribes and Pharisees to hear and consider.
Can we shut up the kingdom of heaven for people today? If so, how?
Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!