The Guilty Generation: Matthew 23:34-36
““34) Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35) so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36) Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭34‬-‭36‬
This generation of Jewish religious leaders carried extra condemnation. They not only crucified the Messiah, but they also launched the bloody persecution against the early Christian church and it’s leaders. They perpetrated the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:54-60), the killing of the Apostle James (Acts 12:2), and the arrest of Peter. (Acts 12:3-19)
Much of the violence against the early church was carried out by them. (Acts 8:1-3) There is no record of the full amount of suffering and human blood shed by these religious leaders, but it was surpassed only by the Roman persecution itself that eventually came.
In verse 35, Jesus said the blood guilt of all the righteous from Able (Genesis 4:6-8), to Zechariah the priest (2 Chronicles 24:20-21) was going to be poured out on this generation. Why? What is the connection?
When John 8:44 and John 10:10 are viewed together, we discover that Satan is ultimately behind all death and violence; especially aimed at the righteous. This will culminate with the antichrist and his violent persecution of both Israel and Christians in the end times. They were willing partners with Satan.
But why would generation of religious leaders carry more guilt? Because they crucified the Messiah! They were willfully blind and ignorant to the volume of prophecies pointing to the Messiah in the Old Testament. Furthermore, they closed their eyes and ears to the manifold signs, wonders and teachings of Jesus during His public ministry.
In a sense, the book of Matthew was written as a formal charge against the Jewish religious leaders of that generation. They chose to ignore the evidence and conspire with the devil in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Read Matthew 27:22-26. Look carefully at verse 25; “And all the people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and our children!’” Jesus granted their request.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global