What Jesus Did! 'You Snakes!' — Matthew 23:33-36

Saturday, November 4, 2017

"You are snakes! You are from a family of poisonous snakes! You will not escape God. You will all be judged guilty and go to hell! So I tell you this: I send to you prophets and wise men and teachers. You will kill some of these people. You will hang some of them on crosses. You will beat some of these people in your synagogues. You will chase them from town to town. So you will be guilty for the death of all the good people that have been killed on earth. You will be guilty for the killing of that good man Abel. And you will be guilty for the killing of Zechariah son of Berachiah. He was killed between the temple and the altar. You will be guilty for the killing of all the good people that lived between the time of Abel and the time of Zechariah. I tell you the truth. All of these things will happen to you people that are living now."
— Matthew 23:33-36 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 23:33-36 NLT —  You are from a family of poisonous snakes!

Key Thought

The Israel of Jesus' day is about to bring down judgment against Israel, and especially Jerusalem. This is because they are about to reject Jesus, God's Son. What's more, they do not just reject him, they scorn him, they brutalize him, and they have him put to death on a Roman cross. But it isn't Jesus alone who is rejected. Israel had gotten in the habit of ignoring, bullying, and even murdering those prophets who did not give them what they wanted. Jesus' death is just the ultimate transgression by the people in a long line of progressions where prophets were mistreated, abused, and murdered for speaking God's unadulterated truth. But surely we can do more than honor the prophets of old in our day in some arcane and outdated ritual that "frees" us from having to deal seriously with their teachings. Surely, we can seek to live by the prophets' teachings and have those values built into the fabric of God's family.

Today's Prayer

Father, may I honor the words and the spirit of your will that has been delivered by the prophets. Give me strength and courage, please, dear Lord, so I can be a living example of your truth in my world. In Jesus' name I ask it fervently. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matt. 3:7-8
  • Luke 11:45-54
  • Acts 7:51-52

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.