His Heart on Hypocrisy
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples… —Matthew 23:1 (NKJV)
A lot of warnings are given in God’s Word. But few are as intense and comprehensive as the one Jesus gives in the twenty-third chapter of Matthew’s gospel. He goes all out in warning the multitudes and His disciples about something that He showed no mercy towards…hypocrisy. Citing the religious leaders of Israel as an example, Jesus delivers a devastating denunciation against the hypocrisy that had come to characterize and control them. Just listen to some of the language the Lord uses:
Woe to you…hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you… hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. “Woe to you…hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves… Matthew 23:13-15 (NKJV)
Jesus left no questions on how He felt about hypocrisy. He connected it with some of the most scathing remarks ever made. And when the Son of God gives a warning about something like that, we’d be foolish not to heed it and adjust our hearts accordingly.
Hypocrisy is basically the state of pretending to be one thing while actually being another. The Greek word literally means “mask wearer,” and it describes actors who wear masks to play different roles in a performance. God wants us to be sincere and real about the people we really are. He doesn’t want us to put on a performance in public only to be someone else behind closed doors. Our character should be consistent in all cases and conditions. If it isn’t, we inch closer to where the piously pretentious leaders of Jesus’ day were.
None of us wants to be there, and we won’t when we go before God and ask Him to create a heart that’s humble and honest in us.
small group time:::
THINK ABOUT IT...
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?