Matthew 23:23-39 The Message Bible

23  "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God's Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment - the absolute basics! - you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. 24  Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that's wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons? 25  "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. 26  Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something. 27  "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. 28  People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds. 29  "You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints. 30  And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands. 31  You protest too much! You're cut from the same cloth as those murderers, 32  and daily add to the death count. 33  "Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper?

34  It's on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation - and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse. 35  "You can't squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah's son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head. 36  All this, I'm telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation

Jesus Laments over Jerusalem

37  "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God's news! How often I've ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn't let me. 38  And now you're so desolate, nothing but a ghost town 39  What is there left to say? Only this: I'm out of here soon. The next time you see me you'll say, 'Oh, God has blessed him! He's come, bringing God's rule!'"

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