Mat 23:15 “ Woe 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.”
Can I take the time to translate that into today’s language? “Your are going to have problems, and I feel sorry for you, religious teachers, for you travel all over the place trying to make a convert, and when you do, you make him/her twice the child of hell that you are by putting them in total religious bondage.” That in essence is what Jesus was saying to the scribes and Pharisees. He started out in the passage to say that the scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses seat. That meant that they were speaking on behalf of God, but they were in great error.
I would warn that many religious leaders today in evangelical Christianity should take the time to read Matthew chapter 23 often. To answer the question of this post, the answer is that the only people… can I repeat that? ….THE ONLY PEOPLE, that Jesus criticized was religious leaders. Think about that; let that soak in. If you listen to most evangelical Christians today you would think that he was critical of fornicators and drunks. That was not Jesus priority. Why was that? Could it be that He knew that they were already totally alienated from God because of the fall, and that they needed to know that God was indeed a loving Father in heaven that had planned to redeem them from before the foundation of the world.
His concern was for all those who were being mistreated by religious leaders. He was upset with the greedy money changers that were ripping the people off by making them exchange their money for temple money. They traveled many miles to sacrifice and they could only sacrifice what was offered by the money changers, and the money changers charged exorbitant usury to sell the animals.
All I can say is James warned about not being many teachers. He said that those who teach others, and set themselves up as religious leaders have a greater responsibility. He told his disciples that the Gentile leader’s lord over the people, and it should not be so with a disciple/apostle of Christ. There is so much ink in the gospels that religious leaders should be aware of because they would find that much of what they do does not square with the story of redemption at all. Again, to really understand the scripture, one must be very careful that they understand what part of the timeline is involved, and who a message was being spoke to. Most of the gospels were written about events under the Old Covenant before the cross. The fact is that the religious leaders under the old covenant were not to be emulated. Yet today so many religious leaders pattern themselves too closely to the old covenant leaders. Now is the time to re-examine our hermeneutic and see the transition that takes place within the pages of the New Testament. If we allow the Holy Spirit to be the guide we will arrive at very different conclusions.
The answer to the above question is that the only criticism that Jesus leveled was to religious leaders... pray and meditate on that!