Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 25: Saturday
But the synagogue official, indignant because
Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying
to the crowd in response, “There are six days
in which work should be done; so come during
them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath
But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him.
Saturday’s Bible reading is Luke 13–14. In these two chapters Jesus interacts with three different groups: the scribes and Pharisees, the crowds, and His disciples. As you read you can see his remarks change in tone and content according to the group he is addressing.
Jesus tells His disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” The scribes and Pharisees became angry and hostile to Jesus because of His deeds and His words. By their reaction to Jesus, they, themselves, were the ones who continually exposed that their godliness was a pretense without any reality.
That’s what hypocrisy is. Those who sin and confess their sin are not hypocrites. They admit who they are and their need for forgiveness. A. T. Robertson has a succinct and descriptive statement on hypocrisy:
“Hypocrisy was the leading Pharasaic vice…and was a mark of sanctity to hide an evil heart.”1
The scribes and the Pharisees had no desire to truly be godly—they wanted the appearance of godliness. They had no desire to honor God with their lives. Their sanctity only hid their evil hearts.
Hypocrisy is deadly—to ourselves and to others. Pretense prevents us from acknowledging our sin before God. Hypocrisy is also incredibly damaging to children because when they hear their parents speak sanctimonious words and then turn around and berate them or treat them harshly, it warps their understanding of themselves and of God and Christianity. Hypocrisy can help harden the hearts of those who are not believers in Christ against the gospel when they observe someone who claims to know Christ say one thing and then do the opposite. No matter how they may live, those who aren’t Christians have some idea and standards of how Christians should be living, and when they don’t see Christians live out their faith in their morals, ethics and kindness and compassion, they call them on their hypocrisy and they disdain Christianity. I don’t think it’s perfection they want to see—when we blow it and apologize, our humility and honesty can say a great deal to them about the reality of our faith in Christ—it’s the pretense of perfection that is detestable.
We must beware of the leaven of hypocrisy.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 1931, Vol. II, p. 171.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter