As always, please read the chapter. You don’t want to miss this one.
Addressing the crowds and his disciples, Jesus began to expose the Jewish teachers and Pharisees for their hypocrisy. The Jewish leaders may have known and taught the Law well, but their lifestyle was not to be imitated. They were experts on what others should do, while excusing themselves from duty to God. They were vain and self-important, loving the praise of men. They were a den of snakes! And those are Jesus’ words.
These leaders were blind guides and hypocrites. Remember, the term hypocrite was taken from the practice of wearing a mask while acting in a play. Living for God is not merely a show. The Pharisees were outwardly religious, but inwardly corrupt. They were like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside, but full of bones inside. As the time of his death drew near, Jesus began to truly distinguish between the faithful and the unfaithful. The salvation of mankind would cost him his life, and the resulting blessings would not go to those who trifled with God’s commands.
Although the Jewish leaders advertised themselves as friends of God, they were just like their forefathers who killed God’s prophets. God greatly desired to save all his people, beginning with Jerusalem. However, the sins of the people and the city would come due before long. Jesus referred to the temple no longer as God’s house, but as “your house.” It was left desolate, the scene and symbol of their empty religious life.
Let us be faithful to God and thankful for his every blessing.
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of Matthew’s gospel. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.