Wednesday, 03 January 2018
Welcome to 2018! Thoughts of a new year and new goals, new resolutions, new opportunities and growth are upon us. We return to Jesus challenging the Pharisees with their hypocrisy as a current surgery to remove all hypocrisy and false obedience out of our own lives. The opening 4 verses read like this,
"Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying, 'The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do no do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them. And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger."
Hypocrisy is the challenge for every person, every saint, every thought to be good person. It rears its head in us so easily, with so many selfish and personal desires. No wonder Jesus not only wanted to challenge the religious leaders apparent perfect living but also give us a daily challenge to consider. Really then we have to approach this discourse of Jesus in this chapter with certain questions to help us evaluate our own hypocrisy problem.
So we begin in these verses with this question to consider: Do I fail to practice what I preach? Jesus tells the discples and the crowd that you were to respect and listen to the authority of the scribes, they sat on the place of Moses. They were teachers of the Word of God. This is clearly a reference to obeying the word of God, regardless of who is teaching it. The messenger is often faulty, but the message from God is not. If the teacher, preacher, speaker, is giving God's word is valid exposition, you are required to listen and obey. Jesus problem was not with the Word of God, but with the messengers. These scribes were teaching the Law, but not doing it. They were telling everyone else what to do, but not lifting or moving their own finger. Pure and obvious hypocrisy. They did not practice what they preach.
This is not just a problem and charge to pastors, and leaders in the church. Jesus is not only addressing this challenge to leaders of people, though they are in the limelight and should take their role and leadership seriously. This is for everyone of us. Everyone is a leader in some capacity. All of us tell others what to do or are given a platform that has authority. Whether a parent, a pastor, a teacher, a friend, a sibling, a boss or supervisor, we are all called to avoid hypocrisy. This I leave for myself and to you as well today: Don't tell and expect others to do what you are unwilling to do yourself! If we have or are willing to do what we preach so hard about then we are not hypocrites. Sadly, most of us fall short of meeting that requirement. God help us to be doers as well as tellers of the word in all things in all ways, and before all peoples.