November 3, Matthew 23, Luke 20-21

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23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. They do everything to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters. Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 You are not to be called instructors either, because you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in.

15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as you are!

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the temple, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the temple is bound by his oath.’ 17 Blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 Also, ‘Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing; but whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.’ 19 Blind people! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore, the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it. 21 The one who takes an oath by the temple takes an oath by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God’s throne and by him who sits on it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, and yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. 24 Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, but gulp down a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside of it may also become clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of impurity. 28 In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, 30 and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors’ sins!

33 “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell? 34 This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all these things will come on this generation.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’!”

Luke 20

20 One day as he was teaching the people in the temple and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the scribes, with the elders, came and said to him, “Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?”

He answered them, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves: “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know its origin.

And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Now he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and went away for a long time. 10 At harvest time he sent a servant to the farmers so that they might give him some fruit from the vineyard. But the farmers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 He sent yet another servant, but they beat that one too, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third, but they wounded this one too and threw him out.

13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my beloved son. Perhaps they will respect him.’

14 “But when the tenant farmers saw him, they discussed it among themselves and said, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, so that the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and kill those farmers and give the vineyard to others.”

But when they heard this they said, “That must never happen!”

17 But he looked at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of this Scripture:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone?

18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him.”

19 Then the scribes and the chief priests looked for a way to get their hands on him that very hour, because they knew he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.

20 They watched closely and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, so that they could catch him in what he said, to hand him over to the governor’s rule and authority. 21 They questioned him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach correctly, and you don’t show partiality but teach truthfully the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 But detecting their craftiness, he said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?”

“Caesar’s,” they said.

25 “Well then,” he told them, “give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

26 They were not able to catch him in what he said in public, and being amazed at his answer, they became silent.

27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came up and questioned him: 28 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother has a wife, and dies childless, his brother should take the wife and produce offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife and died without children. 30 Also the second 31 and the third took her. In the same way, all seven died and left no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had married her.”

34 Jesus told them, “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to take part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 For they can no longer die, because they are like angels and are children of God, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 Moses even indicated in the passage about the burning bush that the dead are raised, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 He is not the God of the dead but of the living, because all are living to him.”

39 Some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

41 Then he said to them, “How can they say that the Messiah is the son of David? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms:

The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand
43 until I make your enemies your footstool.’

44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How, then, can the Messiah be his son?”

45 While all the people were listening, he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes and who love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher judgment.”

Luke 21

21 He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

As some were talking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “These things that you see—the days will come when not one stone will be left on another that will not be thrown down.”

“Teacher,” they asked him, “so when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”

Then he said, “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Don’t follow them. When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be alarmed. Indeed, it is necessary that these things take place first, but the end won’t come right away.”

10 Then he told them, “Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to bear witness. 14 Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, 15 for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. 17 You will be hated by everyone because of my name, 18 but not a hair of your head will be lost. 19 By your endurance, gain your lives.

20 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those inside the city must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it, 22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written. 23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will be killed by the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is near.”

29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they put out leaves you can see for yourselves and recognize that summer is already near. 31 In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

34 “Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly 35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”

37 During the day, he was teaching in the temple, but in the evening he would go out and spend the night on what is called the Mount of Olives. 38 Then all the people would come early in the morning to hear him in the temple.

In today’s reading we see the story of the widow that gave two tiny coins. She had very little to give, but what she had she gave. Notice Jesus watched as wealthy people put their offerings in as well, but at the end of all of it Jesus said the widow gave more than anyone on that day. Why? Because she gave sacrificially. She gave all that she had. Be faithful in little, and God will make you a steward of much.

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