Summary: Part six of this series, this message based on how Israel had rejected God’s prophets and His Messiah.
Jesus Hates Hypocrisy
Even More Than You Do!
Part 6 – Learning from History
February 15, 2009
Me: One of the most frustrating parts of parenting is when your child gets hurt doing something that had already hurt them sometime before.
You parents know what I’m talking about, right?
You’ve told them over and over not to play with chainsaws, but they didn’t listen and they got hurt. And what happens two weeks later? They’re doing it again.
We: And it’s not just with parenting is it?
How many of you here have done something that caused you pain or hardship, and then you thought you could do it again and not be hurt by it, but it ended up the same way?
Pretty embarrassing, right? Especially if it gives your wife or mother-in-law the excuse to say, “I told you so.”
The issue is that a lot of times we don’t learn from our mistakes, and it can cause pain or hardship.
God: On a broader scope, people and nations can refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past; so they can continue to make those mistakes.
And depending on what those mistakes were, it can lead to judgment from God Himself.
The passage we’re going to look at today describes that kind of blind living, but I believe it has some implications for you and me on a very personal level.
We’re going to work our way through this passage and look at some lessons from it. And then I want go into some ways to show the world around us that we are not slaves to the mistakes of the past.
29 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ’If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!
* The earlier generations killed the prophets. This generation would kill the one the prophets foretold.
* Jesus pointed out that they were no different from their ancestors at all for they were plotting to kill another messenger from God—the Messiah himself. (LACNT)
These guys were already planning on how to have Jesus killed, and it would fall into place in just about 3 days from this conversation.
They were so blinded. They were blinded to their own hypocrisy, and they were blinded to the Messiah standing right in front of them.
And you know what? If we’re not careful, we can become the same way.
Like the Pharisees we can become so engrossed in the religious wrappings of the faith that we lose sight of Christ Himself.
We see things only through our denominations eyes, or only through the eyes of our favorite TV or radio preacher, or through the eyes of our favorite Christian author.
Sometimes we miss out on truth because it doesn’t come in the “Wesleyan” package or in the package fed to you by Focus on the Family or the Moral Majority.
Now, I’m not against those groups, by the way, so don’t have a cow, okay?
I’m just saying that you can’t let them do all your thinking for you, no matter how good they are and no matter how much you might agree with them.
The trouble with the Pharisees and such was that very few of them could see outside of their little boxes, and that’s why they couldn’t see the truth of Jesus even though He was right in front of them. It was causing them to repeat the mistakes of their forefathers.
And because of this Jesus tells them to go ahead and fill up the measure of their sin.
The idea behind “the measure of the sin” is that God can only tolerate so much sin; and when the measure is “full,” He must respond in wrath. (EBC) He did in the case of the temple in AD 71, and the time is coming when He will pour out His wrath on the earth for all its sin.
Let’s continue in verse 33:
33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.