White Washed Sepulchers

A rather pompous-looking deacon was trying to impress a class of boys with the importance of living the Christian life. “Why do people call me a Christian?” the man asked. After a moment’s pause, one youngster said, “Maybe it’s because they don’t know you.” (S … More


In our next woe Jesus gives an analogy of the Pharisees who appeared righteous on the outside. (like unto white washed tombs) however they were corrupt and decaying on the inside (vv. 27-32). It was a tradition for the Pharisees to build and decorate the tombs of the martyrs.

However it was their spiritual fathers who killed the martyrs.Notice several contrasts between Jesus’ teaching and the teaching of the Pharisees:

Jesus                                               Pharisees

Taught spiritual life                      Majored on rules                    

Measured by character               Measured by activity

Taught humility                             Very proud

Emphasized the inner man          Concerned about externals

Glorified His Father                       Sought glory  for themselves 

The generation to which these words were addressed represented the culminating point of the whole sinful history of the nation, beginning with the murder of Abel by his brother Cain (see Gen 4; Heb 11:4) and going on to the murder of Zacharias son of Barachias (vv. 33-39). In (II Chron. 24:20-21) we find the account of the murder of Zechariah son of Jehoiada “in the court of the house of the Lord.” If this is the incident here referred to, the mention of Abel and Zacharias may be intended to cover the whole Old Testament revelation. God’s greatest desire for us is always to develop and nurture a growing, satisfying relationship with Him. He created us for deep fellowship with Him, but we make the choice as to whether we allow Him to fulfill His purpose in our lives.


The natural man desires praise and glory like the Pharisees instead of giving all glory to God. It is real easy to be a Pharisee. Have I ever done something well and wanted to take the credit myself? I should give all glory to God and others because they made it possible (Matt. 23:12).

Matthew 23:27-39 (English Standard Version)

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View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »