As we approach chapter 23 of Matthew, there is a significant change in Jesus’ tone. In the sermon recorded in Matthew 23, Jesus goes from teaching to preaching. He moves from grace to judgment.
In Roman’s chapter 4 Paul tells us that it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. God’s grace and mercy are a great motivation to lead a person to receive salvation. But later Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians that some are “saved by fire”. In other words, some people have to be confronted with the sure damnation of hell and judgment in order to come to a decision about Christ. That may be why, in the last sermon that Jesus gives to the crowds in Jerusalem, just days before His death on the cross, Jesus preaches hellfire and judgment to the religious leaders.
But there is another interesting facet of this sermon; Jesus seems to be coming “full circle” in His ministry. In the beginning of His ministry, Jesus taught eight blessings on the form of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). Here as He approaches the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus presents the religious leaders with a set of eight ‘woes’. Interesting how they parallel.
Join us Sunday as we dive into Matthew chapter 23!
Till the whole world hears,