23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,2 “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.[a]3 So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.4 They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
5 “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.[b]6 And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues.7 They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’[c]
8 “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.[d]9 And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father.10 And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah.11 The greatest among you must be a servant.12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.[e]
15 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell[f] you yourselves are!
16 “Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’17 Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?18 And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding.19 How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred?20 When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it.21 And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it.22 And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.
23:2Greek and the Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses.
23:5Greek They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
23:7Rabbi, from Aramaic, means “master” or “teacher.”
23:13Some manuscripts add verse 14, What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, you will be severely punished. Compare Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.
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