“But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and are long prayers just for show. This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.” Matthew 23:13
The information we see in the Bible about Jesus usually shows Him treating others as He expects us to treat them. The only ones we see Jesus really get ‘snippy’ with is the religious leaders at the time. These leaders lived a life of ‘do as I say not as I do.’ We see them utilize the Temple as a means to make money rather than giving worship to God. Jesus comes in and turns over the money tables that were set up for people to purchase. He’s furious that they not only made worship to God a spectacle but that they are showing others to do the same. This is all a prime example on why He needed to come as the last blood sacrifice.
In Luke 18 Jesus tells the parable that tells of a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee prayed with pomp and circumstance-looking for attention-where the tax collector prayed quietly. He quietly asked God to forgive his sins. This tax collector knew who he was-a sinner. He didn’t even feel like he should lift his eyes to heaven. He knew who he was and he knew he needed God. The Pharisee on the other hand would rather act like he needed God…while he got the attention he wanted.
The scripture above says it all (Matthew 23). Hypocrites. The concordance lists this as the Greek word ‘hupokrites’; an actor under an assumed characters (stage actor), a dissembler. I unfortunately am not trained in Greek but the last part of the definition really stands out to me. It makes me think about the damage that religious hypocrites-like the Pharisees-have on those around them.
At first these hypocrites seem like the real deal. Especially to those who may be new to the faith. And that is where some real damage can happen. When those new Christians learn who these hypocrites really are it can turn them away from the church all together. And just as bad-if not worse-is Christians that don’t realize that those around them are hypocrites and they run their Christian lives as they do. Matthew 23:13 tells us that they shut out the kingdom of heave to others. How sad!
And that, my friends, is serious business to God. That piece of scripture also tells us that He will judge those who do this to those around them more harshly. We need to display who God and Jesus really are. We need to show that Jesus died for our sins. That we truly need Him. That we cannot do this life of our own accord. It is through the sacrifice of Jesus that we get to enjoy God’s grace.
There is where my Hope comes from. God loves us-faults and all.
Let’s show how awesome and loving God is.
In Jesus’ precious name.