Summary: We humans develop masks to hide the real us. Jesus exposes us for what we are, but also offers us the solution

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The Movie “Face-Off” is the story of a detective trying to capture a notorious criminal

• In a plot that is to involved to explain here, the two main characters Nicholas Cage and John Travolta end up with each other’s faces surgically swapped

• Which is real confusing when you are trying to remember who the good and the bad guys are

• Even the good guy’s wife is confused because on the outside it looks like her husband, but his behavior doesn’t add up

• The outside belied what lay underneath, in other words, the interior was not consistent with the exterior

We all wear masks don’t we, pretending to be something we’re not

• We start off as children and at that stage we don’t understand or care what people think when we throw a tantrum or spit the dummy

• But as we grow older, we become more sophisticated, we learn to mask our true thoughts and emotions

• We might be seething inside with rage or jealously but we maintain this calm reserved appearance on the outside

• But occasionally what is going on on the inside pops out when our emotions get the better of us, we spit the dummy and we get an insight into a person’s true nature

• We saw this at the recent 100m finals at the World Athletic championships. American Jon Drummond had a false start and was disqualified

• Here was a thirty year old, one of the fastest men in the world, a perfect specimen of horse flesh, with space age lycra suit, and designer sunglasses, whose pouting bottom lip would have make any two year old envious, letting it all hang out for the whole world to see

• Jesus talks about this human condition in Matt 23:

• He has finally had enough of the Pharisees and takes them to task about this hypocrisy that exists between the inside and the outside

• By the way we all have a little Pharisee in us, they don’t hold the corner on the market when it comes to human nature

Matthew 23:25-28 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence!

• They tithed of mint, cumin and anise, they blew trumpets to attract a crowd before they cast their offerings into the temple treasury; they had the best seats in the synagogue, they liked to be called “Rabbi”

• They looked like they had it together, all the trappings of success, yet they were corrupt on the inside

• Funny thing was they thought they were getting away with it. They thought people couldn’t see past the masks they were wearing

• Isn’t that annoying when our mask is ripped away and we are exposed for what we are really like – its embarrassing

26 Blind Pharisees! First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too.

• Its interesting in his criticism of the Pharisees Jesus also offers the solution to the problem

• A good point for the church to pick up on. We are good at criticizing the world without offering the solution

• Like this preacher who gunned down the doctor at the abortion clinic

• That really solved the problem

• What would happen if we applied that solution to every sin? We would all be dead!

• Jesus has a different solution to that problem and ever other problem in the world

27 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

• Where I grew up in North Queensland there was a large Italian community

• The cemetery there was a real tourist attraction with its polished marble and granite monuments to the departed

• Beautiful on the outside but decaying flesh and bones on the inside

• This is the appalling condition the whole human race finds itself in because of sin

• We are corrupt on the inside, but our pride can’t allow others to see what we are really like so we become very adept at covering it up with masks

• And that’s the best mankind of himself can do, cover up the real problem

• That’s why fashion is such a big industry, that’s why politicians lie, It’s all a huge façade to cover what we are really like underneath

Then Jesus comes along and promptly rips off the mask and leaves us standing there naked as jay birds, exposing all the hideous muck and evil of our deceitful human heart

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