Consider this for a moment; Jesus has taken on the might of the Jewish establishment in the temple itself and none of what he has to say is remotely easy to stomach. He has already pronounced five of the seven woes against the Scribes and the Pharisees and now before he steps into the fifth discourse, the eschatological discourse, he comes down heavily on the Jewish religious establishment

While our texts today will end at verse 32, it would do well to read the text till verse 36. For all those who thought that Jesus was dangerously out of line when he made a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple, his words in Chapter 23 will be louder than his actions. The words we hear him speak barely reflect the Jesus we have come to know; the one who is mild and meek.

The last two woes deal with all things dead, be they the prophets or their tombs. The very topic of death and all its trappings were linked to Jewish rites of impurity. Touching a dead person or for that matter a tombstone could render you ritually unclean. It was for this reason that the Jews took great pains to white wash their tombs less some hapless Jew stumbles on one of them and is now unclean. The whitewashing of tombs served as a sign board of warning.

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