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Escaping death
Bible Passage Matthew 23: 29- 39
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book Matthew.

Escaping death

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached September 22, 2023

29 “How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous.

30 Then you say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our ancestors, we would have had no part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’

31 Therefore, you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets.

32 Then finish what your ancestors started!

33 You snakes, you children of serpents! How can you escape being condemned to hell?

34 “That is why I am sending you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will whip in your synagogues and persecute from town to town.

35 As a result, you will be held accountable for all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Berechiah’s son Zechariah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

36 I tell all of you with certainty, all these things will happen to those living today.”

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones to death those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling!

38 Look! Your house is left abandoned!

39 I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘How blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”


Jesus continues to repeat some of the accusations He had made elsewhere against the Pharisees and scribes.
The Pharisees pretended to give honour to God’s special servants who died long ago. They made their graves look beautiful. Sometimes they even built new rock graves for them. The Pharisees said that they would not have killed God’s servants. But Jesus was bringing God’s message, and they were planning to kill Him. He had shown that He knew their thoughts in His story about the wicked farmers (Matthew 21:33-41).

All through Jewish history men had killed God’s special servants and refused to listen to their message. The Pharisees were the same. Like their ancestors, they would not be satisfied until they had killed all God’s messengers. They would even kill the Messiah Himself. Therefore, all God’s judgement against his murderous people, including that which He had withheld from former generations, would fall on them. They would live to see their city destroyed and their national life brought to an end (verse 29-36).

In verse 33ff, Jesus used words that John the Baptist had also used. He warned the Pharisees about the punishment in hell. God had sent His special servants with messages in the past, and He would send more in the future. But they would all suffer because they were doing God’s work.

Prophet Zechariah told the people that God would punish them for their bad behaviour. But King Joash encouraged the people to throw stone Zechariah to death. Before he died, Zechariah prayed to God to judge his murderers
(2 Chronicles 24:20-22).

The Pharisees were among those who opposed Jesus. But Jesus was God’s final message to them. Jesus knew that they would fix Him on the cross to die as well. The entire Jewish history showed how the Jews had murdered God’s servants. Abel was the first. His brother Cain murdered him (Genesis 4:8).

Jesus greatly loved Jerusalem city, and He greatly loved His own people, the Jews. Luke says (Luke 19:41-44) that Jesus wept as He came near to the city. He had wanted them to enter God’s kingdom. Because He loved them, He wanted to protect them. This was like a chicken that protects her little chickens under her wings.

In rejecting the Messiah who had come among them, the Jews were rejecting their only hope. They would not experience God’s blessing till they turned and welcomed Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour.

🔷 If we become too deviant, the love of our parents will slip off our hands and we become orphaned

🔷 There will be judgement for those who will not accept the Messiah but throw Him and His message away

🔷 God knows our hearts and intentions. He knows our hypocrisy.

💥 Pray that God will forgive the sin of rejection of His word and His people
💥 Pray for God’s protection over you

The word of God should be our fortress and source of comfort. His love and care for us are found in His word brought by His messengers. We should not reject Him to call judgement upon ourselves.

In series Bright Morning Reflections