Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Matthew 23:9-25:46

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Matthew 23:9-10

call no man on earth your fatherteacher. This command is not a general prohibition regarding biological fathers, but instead is teaching Christians that they should not recreate the rabbinic system of hierarchy where some Christian brothers and sisters are exalted above others. Instead, humility and servanthood are Jesus' ways (Matt. 20:26-28). See WLC 105.

Seven Woes upon the Pharisees - Matthew 23:13-36

Jesus' primary opponents were the conservative religious leaders, the Pharisees. He pronounced seven woes or statements of warning about the foolishness of living with an external piety but without a heart that loves God. This is called "hypocrisy." These woes serve as the counterpoint to the macarisms of Matt. 5:3-12.

Matthew 23:33

offspring of vipers. This language of judgment is the same that John the Baptist used against the religious leaders (3:7). See BC 37.

Matthew 23:25

You clean the outside of the cup and of the plate. There were many traditional Jewish practices regarding ritual purity that focused on washing. Jesus again pointed out that this focus on external matters is not as important as the heart (summed up in Matt. 23:27-28). See WLC 142.

Matthew 23:35

blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah. There were many people named Zechariah in the Bible and we do not know which one Jesus is referring to here. It is possible that this Zechariah was the prophet who was killed in the courtyard of the temple (2 Chr. 24:20-22). Thus, the reference to Abel and Zechariah refers to righteous people being killed across the whole span of human history from the beginning of the Bible (Genesis) to the end of the OT (Chronicles).

Jesus' Teaching on the Future Judgment – Matthew 24:1–25:46

As the second part of the Judgment Discourse, Jesus focused on God's judgment that is coming upon faithless Israel and its leaders. The main point for Christians is the call to live faithfully to God as they await the kingdom.

Matthew 24:1

The Temple. The Temple in Jerusalem was the most important part of Jewish worship, culture, and identity. It was first built by King Solomon but had been destroyed and then rebuilt in the 5th century BC. It was finally destroyed by the Romans in AD70.

Matthew 24:3

Your coming and the end of the age. Based on various OT teachings, the Jewish people expected God to return to bring about the age of his final reign upon the earth, also known as the kingdom of God. With Jesus' teaching his disciples now understood that these events are centered on Jesus himself as the true King and the one who will bring the kingdom of God upon the earth. They do not yet fully understand, however, when these things will happen.

Tribulation for Christians – Matthew 24:5-14

Jesus described the trials and difficulties of the present age for his followers until his final return. This time will include both great persecution and the spread of the gospel throughout the whole world.

Matthew 24:15

Abomination of desolation. This odd expression comes from the Book of Daniel (Dan. 9:26-27; 11:31) and refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and the defilement of God's Temple by Gentile unbelievers. Here Jesus picks up on this language to explain the events that will happen in AD70 as well as before his final return to the earth.

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