I have preached on this passage before under the title, "How Not to Be a Pharisee." Although the format of Jesus' rebuke indicates 'seven woes,' I find there are twelve solid instructions within this chapter to guide us away from the foolishness of phariseeism.
- Practice What You Preach (23:1-3)
- Lighten Other People's Loads (23:4)
- Work for God's Approval, Not Man's (23:5-10)
- Lead By Serving (23:11)
- Practice Humility (23:12)
- Make It Easy for People to be Saved (23:13)
- Make Disciples of Jesus, Not of Yourself (23:15)
- Value Christ, Not the 'Things' of Christianity (23:16-22)
- Prioritize the Higher Virtues (23:23-24)
- Be Righteous from the Inside Out (23:25-28)
- Accept God's Correction and Wisdom (23:29-36)
- Live Under the Savior's Wing (23:37-39)
Instead of an unruly mob of twelve, be glad to have this gathering of twelve rule your approach to the Christian life. Consider each of these bullet points as twelve stalwarts calling you to join them in exalting Christ, His Kingdom and it's principles. The "Riot Act" was employed to disperse any activities contrary to the rule of the King. I think I'll read the Matthew 23 Riot Act to myself, to disperse any phariseeism that might be gathering in the back alleys of my spirit.
Pray: Lord, thank you for your boldness and your clarity about what does and doesn't reflect true spirituality, true devotion and Kingdom character. Help me to conform to your refinements and transform me. The last thing I want to hear from you is "Woe!"