Jul8WedJuly 8, 2020
Good morning servants of the KIng,
Another glorious day, dedicated to the glory of God!
No one likes a hypocrite. Neither did Jesus. Neither does the world. The number one reason I hear from people regarding why they are not "christians"..."the church is full of hypocrites". It is a sad commentary, with which I totally disagree. People label the church of Jesus Christ, based on a few bad apples or experiences. In this week's reading, Jesus clarifies the issue.
Exposing the phonies (1-3) Jesus is deep into His ministry of calling people out of religion, and into an abundant life of following Him. We finished chapter 11 with Jesus really exposing the true motives of the Scribes and Pharisees - the religious pretenders. They were really mad at Him and verbally attacked Him with questions and accusations (11:53-54)! The altercation between Jesus and the Pharisees drew a huge crowd, numbering beyond ten thousand. Jesus seizes the opportunity to expose them for who they really are, calling them hypocrites - a word that means: those who wear masks, only playing a part on a stage for people to see. Jesus affirms that one day all will be exposed; the truth will be revealed. A person's true identity will come out in the open, the mask will come off, and words and actions will be weighed. Listen to Eugene Peterson in the Message:
By this time the crowd, unwieldy and stepping on each other’s toes, numbered into the thousands. But Jesus’ primary concern was his disciples. He said to them, “Watch yourselves carefully so you don’t get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can’t keep your true self hidden forever; before long you’ll be exposed. You can’t hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.
Fearing the Exposer (4-5) In context, Jesus is warning His audience not to fear the accusations of religious hypocrites, even if they have the power to destroy you physically, which the Pharisees will do to Jesus later. Fear God, not man! He determines where you will spend eternity. This little section is really a call to true holiness. Seeing the Father as Holy and fearing Him with reverence and awe, because He will determine our ultimate destiny, will lead to authentic christianity, in obedience to the commands of our King. Phony hypocrites are more concerned with looking good on the outside, rather than pleasing God from a pure heart of love.
God knows you (6-7) Notice how Jesus comforts His "friends" (v.4). He reassures them that they are known by God. Every hair of our head is numbered. AND...WE ARE VALUABLE TO GOD. More valuable than the birds. God knows who you really are and He loves you. You don't have to pretend to be someone you are not. Be real; authentic; let Him transform you into His image. Give Him your faults & failures, hurts and pains, brokenness and character flaws, etc., and He will complete the work in you. Hypocrisy never fools God, but only prevents us from receiving what God has for us. Pride is the root of hypocrisy - and God opposes the proud. Be like a sparrow - totally dependent on Him.
Get to know Him (8-12) A real "christian" is someone who knows Jesus personally, and is not afraid to acknowledge that they have a relationship with Him. If we can't confess our stance with Jesus, how can we expect Jesus to take a stand for us at the judgement day. Friends, the world is in great need for followers of Jesus to stand up and declare their allegiance to Him, and His word. Not only Him, but Holy Spirit also. We need an intimate relationship with the 3 persons of the Godhead, especially with Holy Spirit as this world gets crazier, and we start experiencing persecution for following Jesus. Listen to Eugene Peterson again:
11-12 “When they drag you into their meeting places, or into police courts and before judges, don’t worry about defending yourselves—what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there. The Holy Spirit will give you the right words when the time comes.”
In summary, hypocrites will be exposed. Faithful followers of Jesus are loved, cared for, and in relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Faithful followers are fearless, and bold to declare their faith. Let's be followers of Jesus, and leave the pretending for the hypocrites!
Be filled with joy and peace!