The Message

Matthew 23

Religious Fashion Shows

11-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.

4-7 “Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’

8-10 “Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.

11-12 “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.


13 “I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.

15 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.

16-22 “You’re hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious’? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.

23-24 “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. 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?

25-26 “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. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.

27-28 “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. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.

29-32 “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints. And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands. You protest too much! You’re cut from the same cloth as those murderers, and daily add to the death count.

33-34 “Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? 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.

35-36 “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. All this, I’m telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.

37-39 “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. And now you’re so desolate, nothing but a ghost town. 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!’”

Chinese Contemporary Bible (Traditional)

馬太福音 23


1隨後,耶穌對百姓和門徒說: 「律法教師和法利賽人坐在摩西的位子上講授律法。 你們要遵行他們的教導,但不要效法他們的行為,因為他們言行不一。 他們捆好重擔放在別人肩上,而自己連一根指頭也不肯動!

「他們的所作所為是為了給人看的,他們把額上佩戴的經文盒子加寬了,又將衣裳的穗邊加長了。 他們喜歡宴席中的上座和會堂裡的首位。 他們喜歡別人在街市上問候他們,稱呼他們為老師[a] 但你們不要讓別人稱呼你們為老師,因為你們只有一位老師,你們彼此都是弟兄。 不要稱呼地上的人為父親,因為你們只有一位父親,祂在天上。 10 不要讓人稱你們為導師,因為你們只有一位導師——基督。 11 你們當中誰最偉大,誰就要作你們的僕人。 12 自高的人必遭貶抑,謙卑的人必得尊榮。

13 「虛偽的律法教師和法利賽人啊,你們有禍了!因為你們當著人們的面關閉天國之門,自己不進去,也不讓別人進去。

14 「虛偽的律法教師和法利賽人啊,你們有禍了!因為你們侵吞寡婦的財產,還假意做冗長的禱告。因此,你們會受到更嚴厲的刑罰。[b]

15 「虛偽的律法教師和法利賽人啊,你們有禍了!因為你們走遍海洋和陸地去引人入教,等人入了教,卻使他淪為地獄之子,比你們還壞兩倍。

16 「瞎眼的嚮導啊,你們有禍了!你們說,『指著聖殿發誓,不算數;但是指著聖殿裡的金子發誓,就要遵守誓言。』 17 無知的瞎子啊!金子重要呢?還是使金子神聖的聖殿重要呢? 18 你們又說,『指著祭壇發誓不算數,但是指著壇上的供物發誓,就要遵守誓言。』 19 瞎眼的人啊!供物重要呢?還是使供物神聖的祭壇重要呢? 20 其實指著祭壇發誓,就是指著祭壇和壇上的一切東西發誓。 21 指著聖殿發誓,就是指著聖殿和住在裡面的上帝發誓。 22 指著天發誓,就是指著上帝的寶座和坐在寶座上的那位發誓。

23 「虛偽的律法教師和法利賽人啊,你們有禍了!你們把薄荷、茴香、芹菜獻上十分之一,卻忽略了律法中更重要的事——公正、憐憫、信實。後者是你們本該做的,前者也不可忽略。 24 瞎眼的嚮導啊!你們濾出蚊蟲,卻吞下駱駝。

25 「虛偽的律法教師和法利賽人啊,你們有禍了!你們洗淨杯盤的外面,裡頭卻盛滿了貪婪和放縱。 26 瞎眼的法利賽人啊!要先洗淨杯盤的裡面,好讓外面也乾淨。[c]

27 「虛偽的律法教師和法利賽人啊,你們有禍了!你們好像粉飾的墳墓,外表好看,裡面卻裝滿了死人的骨頭和各樣污穢之物。 28 你們虛有公義的外表,內心卻充滿了各種的虛偽和罪惡。

29 「虛偽的律法教師和法利賽人啊,你們有禍了!你們為先知建墓,為義人修碑,並且說, 30 『如果我們活在我們祖先的時代,絕不會和他們一起去殺害先知。』 31 這樣,你們自己證明自己是殺害先知之人的後代。 32 去填滿你們祖先的罪惡吧! 33 你們這些蛇,這些毒蛇的後代啊,你們怎能逃脫地獄的刑罰呢?

34 「看啊,我派先知、智者和律法教師到你們當中,有的會遭到你們的殺害,被你們釘在十字架上;有的會在會堂裡被你們鞭打,被你們從這城追到那城。 35 因此,所有義人在地上所流的血,就是從義人亞伯的血,直到你們在聖所和祭壇之間所殺的巴拉加的兒子撒加利亞的血,都要歸到你們身上。 36 我實在告訴你們,這一切的罪責都要歸到這個世代。


37 「耶路撒冷啊!耶路撒冷啊!你常殺害先知,又用石頭打死派到你那裡的使者。我多次想要招聚你的兒女,像母雞將小雞聚集在翅膀底下,可是你們卻不肯。 38 看啊!你們的家園將一片荒涼。 39 我告訴你們,從現在起,直到你們說『奉主名來的當受稱頌』那天之前,你們再也見不到我了。」

Notas al pie

  1. 23·7 老師」希臘文是「拉比」,特指猶太教的老師。
  2. 23·14 有些古卷無:「虛偽的律法教師和法利賽人啊,你們有禍了!因為你們侵吞寡婦的財產,還假意做冗長的禱告。因此,你們會受到更嚴厲的刑罰。」
  3. 23·26 意思是:「裡面的思想先乾淨了,外在的言行才會真正乾淨。」