I remember reading these parts at camp specifically because of their heavy-nature-serious-ness feeling during morning meeting being suppressed because suddenly there are awake energetic children.
The seven woes are always a little confusing to me because they’re written not in today’s language. But this time I think I got a semi-decent handle on them. So here is my attempt at interpreting what they mean:
1. Don’t teach properly and thus prevent others from following
2. Go all over to convert someone, but really make them worse off (manipulated)
3. Making sacred things unworthy of oaths to get off easy
4. Give “things” but not justice, mercy, faithfulness
5. Are greedy/self indulgent
6. unrighteous but put on a righteous air
7. Esteeming selves above the OT stories thinking they wouldn’t make the same mistakes
I really don’t like this list because I can surely see times in my life when I’ve fallen under at least one of these categories. It’s easy to read the chapter and condemn the Pharisees for all they failed to do, but really, when I do that I’m not better because #7.
Then we move onto the end times, which is just super depressing because even though you thought you wanted to see Jesus return, that other stuff sounds highly unpleasant. No wonder we are told to always be on guard! I have one of the more consoling parts of the passage in a sticky note on the page, and thats what I’m going to close off with, because even though we fail, and even though the end times sound particularly scary, the Son of Man will come, and things will be set right, because one thing remains.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away – Matthew 24:35