Woe to Religious Truth Benders: Matthew 23:16-22
““16) Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ 17) You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18) And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ 19) You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20) Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21) And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22) And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.” Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭16‬-‭22‬ ‭
Jesus now exposes the degree of superstition practiced by the Pharisees. Instead of being bound by their words they made degrees of binding oaths. For example, if a person swore an oath by the temple it was nothing, but if he swore by the gold in the temple, he was obligated. (Vs 16-17) Jesus pointed out the utter foolishness of the whole system of oath making that empowered truth bending.
They were like blind guides for other blind people who were constantly adding new rules as the game went on. Their words could not be trusted. They did whatever they pleased. They applied the Law to others, but they became a law unto themselves. There was no solid foundation under what they taught, how they lived and how it applied to themselves. They became religious truth benders.
Instead of clearly and truthfully representing God and His Word, they used their position to rule and exploit people. They twisted and changed things to match their own objectives and excuse themselves of any wrong or fault. They used their positions as religious leaders to control and manipulate people. Jesus pronounce a woe on these religious truth benders.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global