Matthew 23 is a divine excoriation of the religious and political power brokers of Jesus’ day. One of the things I find particularly interesting is Jesus’ opening statement in verse 3, “There whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do.”
Jesus then goes on to detail many of the scribes and Pharisees grievous hypocrisies. These serve as a warning for us today.
In modern conversation, we sometimes hear a man described thusly, “Do you know the guy who (insert dishonorable or hypocritical behavior here)? Don’t be that guy.” With this in mind, I thought I might summarize a few of these using this vernacular.
Do you know the guy who has a lot of things that he thinks others needs to do, but won’t lift a finger to do them himself? Don’t be that guy. (v 4)
Do you know the guy who has to be in charge of everything? Who always has to be first? Always has to be recognized? Don’t be that guy. (vv 5-14)
Do you know the guy whose sense of priorities is completely upside down? Don’t be that guy. (vv 16-24)
Do you know the guy who can get worked up over someone’s small misdeed and ignore his own faults that are far worse? Don’t be that guy. (vv 25-28)
Do you know the guy who won’t listen to anyone, and may even persecute those who come to him in love with his best interest at heart? Don’t be that guy. (v 34)
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of these same men regarding benevolence, prayer and fasting (cf Matt 6:1-18). He also condemned the heathen’s prayers using vain repetitions in Matthew 6:7. Regarding their error He said, “Therefore do not be like them.”
In other words, “Don’t be that guy!”