1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his followers, 2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees have the
authority to tell you what the law of Moses says. 3 So you should obey and follow whatever they tell you, but
their lives are not good examples for you to follow. They tell you to do things, but they themselves don't do
them. 4 They make strict rules and try to force people to obey them, but they are unwilling to help those who
struggle under the weight of their rules.
5 "They do good things so that other people will see them. They enlarge the little boxes[a] holding Scriptures
that they wear, and they make their special prayer clothes very long. 6 Those Pharisees and teachers of the
law love to have the most important seats at feasts and in the synagogues. 7 They love people to greet them
with respect in the marketplaces, and they love to have people call them 'Teacher.'
8 "But you must not be called 'Teacher,' because you have only one Teacher, and you are all brothers and
sisters together. 9 And don't call any person on earth 'Father,' because you have one Father, who is in
heaven. 10 And you should not be called 'Master,' because you have only one Master, the Christ. 11 Whoever
is your servant is the greatest among you. 12 Whoever makes himself great will be made humble. Whoever
makes himself humble will be made great.
13 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You close the door for people
to enter the kingdom of heaven. You yourselves don't enter, and you stop others who are trying to enter. [ 14
How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees. You are hypocrites. You take away widows' houses,
and you say long prayers so that people will notice you. So you will have a worse punishment.][b]
15 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You travel across land and
sea to find one person who will change to your ways. When you find that person, you make him more fit for hell
than you are.
16 "How terrible for you! You guide the people, but you are blind. You say, 'If people swear by the Temple when
they make a promise, that means nothing. But if they swear by the gold that is in the Temple, they must keep
that promise.' 17 You are blind fools! Which is greater: the gold or the Temple that makes that gold holy?18
And you say, 'If people swear by the altar when they make a promise, that means nothing. But if they swear by
the gift on the altar, they must keep that promise.' 19 You are blind! Which is greater: the gift or the altar that
makes the gift holy?20 The person who swears by the altar is really using the altar and also everything on the
altar. 21 And the person who swears by the Temple is really using the Temple and also everything in the
Temple. 22 The person who swears by heaven is also using God's throne and the One who sits on that throne.
23 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You give to God one-tenth of
everything you earn—even your mint, dill, and cumin.[c] But you don't obey the really important teachings of
the law—justice, mercy, and being loyal. These are the things you should do, as well as those other things. 24
You guide the people, but you are blind! You are like a person who picks a fly out of a drink and then swallows
25 "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash the outside of your
cups and dishes, but inside they are full of things you got by cheating others and by pleasing only yourselves.
26 Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean, and then the outside of the cup can be truly
27"How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You are like tombs that are
painted white. Outside, those tombs look fine, but inside, they are full of the bones of dead people and all kinds
of unclean things. 28 It is the same with you. People look at you and think you are good, but on the inside you
are full of hypocrisy and evil.
29"How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You build tombs for the
prophets, and you show honor to the graves of those who lived good lives. 30 You say, 'If we had lived during
the time of our ancestors, we would not have helped them kill the prophets.' 31 But you give proof that you are
descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 And you will complete the sin that your ancestors
33"You are snakes! A family of poisonous snakes! How are you going to escape God's judgment? 34 So I tell
you this: I am sending to you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify. Some
of them you will beat in your synagogues and chase from town to town. 35 So you will be guilty for the death of
all the good people who have been killed on earth—from the murder of that good man Abel to the murder of
Zechariah[e] son of Berakiah, whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, all
of these things will happen to you people who are living now.
Jesus Teaches the People
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a hill and sat down. His followers came to him, 2 and he began to
teach them, saying:
3 "They are blessed who realize their spiritual poverty,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
4 They are blessed who grieve,
for God will comfort them.
5 They are blessed who are humble,
for the whole earth will be theirs.
6 They are blessed who hunger and thirst after justice,
for they will be satisfied.
7 They are blessed who show mercy to others,
for God will show mercy to them.
8 They are blessed whose thoughts are pure,
for they will see God.
9 They are blessed who work for peace,
for they will be called God's children.
10 They are blessed who are persecuted for doing good,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
11 "People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you
follow me. But when they do, you will be blessed. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward
waiting for you in heaven. People did the same evil things to the prophets who lived before you.
13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for
nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on. 14 "You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is
built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 And people don't hide a light under a bowl. They put it on a lamp stand so
the light shines for all the people in the house. 16 In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live
so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.
17 "Don't think that I have come to destroy the law of Moses or the teaching of the prophets. I have not come to
destroy them but to bring about what they said. 18 I tell you the truth, nothing will disappear from the law until
heaven and earth are gone. Not even the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will be lost until
everything has happened. 19 Whoever refuses to obey any command and teaches other people not to obey
that command will be the least important in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys the commands and
teaches other people to obey them will be great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 I tell you that if you are no more
obedient than the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
|Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to
seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those
who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it
Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin
and set us free, restore America. Amen!