Anglican Morning Devotion, 19 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. 2Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. 3And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord. 5Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. 6In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE Lord OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.    (JEREMIAH. 23:1-6; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)


The Lord our God is patient and long-suffering toward His people, but toward those who act out of pride and arrogance, and out of a false profession, His anger is stirred and His wrath is as a burning blaze. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:48) The duties and responsibilities of a minister of God are driven by an uncompromising regard for the Word of God, a love of God that excels all others, and a due regard and love for His people whom He has called and chosen unto Himself. But many are the false teachers and prophets among the people of God. It has been so from ancient days and has grown even more prevalent in our own time. A cursory reading of the complete 23rd chapter of the Book of Jeremiah reveals God’s view of such ministers; and today, in the text to which we make reference in the 23rd chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew will demonstrate the chronic symptoms of the same nature in the New Testament Church as did exist in the Old Testament Church of Jeremiah’s day.

Our Lord opens His salvo against the ministers of His day much like the shore batteries of great guns belch forth their sound rending fire upon the oppressor. “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,”  (Matthew 23:2-6 Jesus oft referred to these false ministers as hypocrites, which from the Greek means ‘play actors.’ Worse than that, they bind heavy burdens on men’s shoulders which they themselves could never bear. How many modern sermons have you heard that contain no plea for money?

Many of the liturgical churches pine for the customs of Roman Catholicism and loved the title of ‘Father’ contrary to the clearly stated prohibition of our Lord: “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9)

Hear the scolding of the Lord for these imposters among the scribes and Pharisees and consider how much more it may even apply to ministers of our own day:

There are eight ‘Woe’s’ mentioned in this chapter of Matthew (23rd) for our understanding. Though this devotion is too brief to cover in detail, they follow in order given:

  • 13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
  • 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”
  • 15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”
  • 16Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!”
  • 23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
  • 25Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”
  • 27 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”
  • 29″Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.”


Perhaps some of these ‘woes’ describe ministers whom you have known, or may know today, as your pastor. If so, you have been told in the words of our Lord what He considers them to be in simple terms: “ 33Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Heed the further counsel of the Lord: “ . . . if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14b)

By |2021-10-26T12:37:47+00:00October 26th, 2021|Blog|Comments Off on WOE UNTO YOU (MINISTERS)

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