Don’t forget that we have here an “expert in the law,” who was offended by the woes Jesus had pronounced upon the Pharisees. We could learn from this passage that people who sympathize with those whom Christ reproves are bound to receive woes of their own! And so, Christ continues His pronouncements against the experts in the law. “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets…” Now, we might think that building monuments for the prophets would be an honorable thing, but Jesus knows the motives and heart condition of these experts. They were direct descendants of their forefathers. Their forefathers had killed the prophets and these experts were making sure that they stayed dead! They made this public display of honor, yet if any prophets or apostles came to them in the same spirit of the former prophets, these experts of the law would be among those who would be first in line to persecute and destroy them. We see this displayed in our culture by those who quote Jesus, but band together with others who would rather keep Him in the grave than believe in His resurrection and live according to His will. Therefore, Jesus says that such hypocrites will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed from Abel to Zechariah – that is – from the beginning of the Old Testament to the end of it. This generation of prophet killers will be held responsible for it all!
“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge.” The very ones who should have been providing understanding of the law, the ones that ought to have unlocked the secrets to the salvation that it pointed to, were the very ones who obstructed and opposed that knowledge. They have taken away the key! They have not embraced the gospel of the Kingdom, and they have been a hindrance to those who WERE entering. They kept themselves, and the people they should have been serving, in ignorance of the way of salvation. God holds teachers to a greater level of accountability – “Woe to you, because you have taken away the key to knowledge.” Jesus left them with this reproof.
After this, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to look for every opportunity to catch Jesus in some fault or inconsistency. They teamed up against Him in FIERCE OPPOSITION! Their hearts were resentful, bitter and angry toward Him. Their strategy was to besiege Him with questions, thinking that, at some point, He would say something wrong. They could not bear the righteous reproof of Christ, so they set out to do something that no righteous person would need to do – they worked hard to try to put Him in a position where they could accuse Him! If this kind of activity was used against them, they would be the first to decry it as evil! It should not surprise us that those who oppose Christ will also oppose His Gospel ambassadors in 2014 in a similar fashion to these Pharisees and teachers of the law. Those who are faithful to reprove sin and unbelief should expect it and keep a careful guard on what they say and how they say it. If we would endure these trials with grace and integrity, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and “consider him who endured such contradiction of sinful men.”