Summary: Part five of this series on Jesus’ words to the religious leaders regarding their hypocrisy.
Jesus Hates Hypocrisy
Even More Than You Do!
Part 5 – Outward Appearance vs. Inward Reality
January 25, 2009
I’m wondering something: in all our weeks of looking at the issue of hypocrisy as Jesus talks about it, has anyone gotten the idea that being a hypocrite is a good idea?
Probably not. Or at least I hope not.
But I also wonder if you’ve stopped to think a minute on just how ugly hypocrisy really is, especially to God.
Does hypocrisy disgust you? I hope so. And I really hope that if you discover it in your own life that it disgusts you all the more.
I’m finding it true in my own life as God continues to weed out the garbage of my life.
God: We continue to look at Jesus’ words about the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.
In these verses He uses some very graphic language to describe how ugly hypocrisy is.
My hope is that will sense the disgust in Jesus’ words, and that you’ll be asking the Holy Spirit to begin weeding this out of your own life as well.
Matthew 23:25-28 (p. –
25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
These are some tough words, wouldn’t you say? He’s ripping into these guys and He doesn’t care that it’s not politically correct.
He knows that in just two or three days He’ll be hanging on the cross and getting ready to prove the power of God by rising again.
And He’s taking these people to task for misleading the people they were charged with leading to love and devotion to God.
Can you imagine the rage that was in Jesus’ voice?
He wasn’t just visiting with this over a cup of tea, you know.
“Well, chaps. It would be very swell of you to try to not be hypocrites. It’s not very sporting of you…”
He was yelling at these guys! He was giving it with both barrels, and all they could do was stand there and take it.
The looks on their faces must have been something to behold.
Probably anywhere from, “Did He just really say that?” to, “Whoa – maybe He’s right,” to “That’s it – He’s dead meat.”
And the crowd must have had the same kinds of reactions. All these people there for the Passover heard Jesus taking these guys on and going the very heart of what was wrong with the system at the time: outward religion at the expense of honest love for God.
And Jesus likens the religious leaders to dirty cups and tombs filled with rotting corpses.
He’s telling them that the outside doesn’t count for much if the inside is bad. A cup that’s dirty on the outside might still have someone’s macaroni and cheese backwash swimming around in it.
In the same way a grave might look real pretty on the outside, but it’s filled with rotting flesh on the inside.
You have to remember that Jews don’t embalm the bodies of their dead, even to this day.
Embalming was around well before Jesus came to earth. The Egyptians practiced it during the time of Joseph, and in fact, Jacob the father of Joseph was embalmed.
But it’s not done for Jews normally. In fact, if a Jew is buried in a coffin, holes are drilled in the coffin to allow contact with the earth.
So you can guess the condition of a body that’s been simply lying inside a tomb for any amount of time.
This is why, in John 4, when Jesus commands the people to remove the stone at Lazarus’ tomb, they’re like, “Umm Jesus? Do you really want to do that? He’s been in there four days, and he’s gonna be mighty smelly.”
You getting the picture here? Jesus says that the outside isn’t nearly as important as the inside.
If our outward appearance doesn’t match our inward reality, we’re hypocrites.
Have any of you ever opened a milk carton and started to take a drink from it (yes, you have!) and found that it was sour?
The carton looked nice, didn’t it? Perfectly shaped, maybe how a picture of a real pretty cow standing in front of a pretty red barn on it.