Summary: What mask are you hiding behind?

Hypocrisy is an inconsistency.

Hypocrisy is the discrepancy between what appears and what is.

Between the way things seem and the way they are.

The Pharisees appeared to be righteous on the outside, but in reality they were


Hypocrisy is a deliberate deception.

Hypocrisy is deliberately appearing to be what we are not.

It is not accidental, but purposeful.

Hypocrisy is a charade. Appearance does not match reality.

But how could the disciples possibly be tempted to be hypocritical, like the Pharisees?

The answer, I believe, is that the form of hypocrisy which would be tempting for

the disciples was different from the form of hypocrisy which characterized the


For the Pharisees they were hypocritical so that they could receive the praise of men.

But for the disciples, the motivation to be hypocritical would have been to avoid the persecution of those who hated true righteousness, who would reject and crucify Jesus, the Messiah, and who would also persecute and kill many of His disciples.

The hypocrisy of the disciples was likely to be trying to appear not to be righteous, in order to avoid the persecution


Trying to conceal the truth is something like attempting to conceal a pregnancy: sooner or later it will be obvious to all.

Verse 4-7-While on the one hand the disciples’ fear should be of God, the greater emphasis of Jesus’ words falls on the faith which the disciples should have in Him.

The One who is to be feared is also the One who has a deep love and intimate concern for His disciples.

He knows and cares about the sparrows, which have little value to man.

He also knows the very hairs of a man’s head.

The disciple need not fear (as man does) for He is of great worth to God, who cares for Him.

Nothing, then, will happen to the disciple, even death, outside of God’s infinite knowledge, love, and care. And since God has the keys, as it were, of heaven and hell, death can only usher the disciple into His presence. What need, then, to fear men, and to try to be a hypocrite?

Verse 8-10-At first appearance this text seems to be warning the disciple that he might lose his salvation by denying the Savior, by his hypocrisy.

This is not the case, however. There are several reasons why this cannot be the case.

(1) Man’s salvation is not based upon his works, or his faithfulness, but on Christ’s shed blood and His faithfulness.

(2) The Scriptures consistently teach that man did not choose God but that He has chosen man, and that the one who is saved is eternally secure.

(3) In our text, there is a definite change from the second person (“you”) to

the third person (“whoever,” “him,” “everyone”).

(4) The unpardonable sin, referred to in verse 10, is elsewhere clearly a sin

which an unbeliever commits, which terminates any further opportunity to be


It is therefore not the disciples who are in view here, but those who would

respond to their message for salvation. I believe that Jesus is saying, just as

the apostles preached in the Book of Acts (2:38-41), and the epistles teach

(Romans 10:9-10), that in order to be saved one must publicly identify himself

with Christ, which, as I understand it, was by profession and by baptism, which

usually happened together.

But what does this have to do with the disciples? Why would our Lord teach His

disciples not to be hypocritical by referring to the requirements God has for man’s salvation?

Very simply. How can the disciples call upon men to publicly profess their faith in Christ for salvation if they are, at the same time, trying to conceal their own faith?

In times of persecution, such as the early days of the church, a decision to trust in Christ was most unpopular, and could lead to persecution by some and rejection by one’s family. The disciples must not waver in their boldness, for they must set and example for those who would come to faith.

Verse 11-12-The Lord is speaking to His disciples about their rejection by their Jewish brethren. They are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, they are brought before the Jewish powers that be. The Book of Acts records just such instances. After Peter and John had publicly and boldly proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, as Israel’s Messiah (Acts 3), they were arrested by the Jewish


First, the Lord’s words made it clear to His disciples that they would suffer

rejection and persecution for their faith in Him. Jesus did not say to them, “If

you are brought before synagogues.…” but “When you are brought before synagogues … ” Persecution was coming.

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