Jesus’ condemnation of hypocrisy

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Luke 12:1-3 “Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and crushing each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees-beware of their hypocrisy.” For there is nothing that is covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.” New Living Translation

Extra Reading: Luke 12:1-12

Jesus warns His disciples of the problem of hypocrisy. Perhaps they were being tempted by the popularity of Jesus and of their own. With the limelight of fame shining on them, they were beginning to follow the Pharisees on a path of hypocrisy-acting religiously superior and judging others, while harbouring jealousy, greed, and pride within their souls. Jesus disliked this type of hypocrisy. Parading a false religiosity in front of people, it completely ignores God. Those types of hypocrites claim to be close to God, when in fact they are far from Him (11:52). Jesus sternly warned His disciples of this yeast that spreads quickly among religious workers. We also need to be on guard against pride and hypocrisy. Be more concerned about your relationship with God and how you appear to others. Let’s go back to verse 1 and try to dig into the meaning and explanation. Even as Jesus began to infuriate the religious leaders, His popularity continued to grow. As Jesus watched the huge crowds waiting to hear Him, He warned His disciples against hypocrisy-trying to appear good when their heart was far from God. Just as yeast works its way through dough, so a small amount of evil can affect a large group of people. The ‘yeast of the Pharisees’-their hypocrisy-could permeate and contaminate society, leading the entire nation astray. Jesus warned against the spread of hypocrisy and its destructive consequences. How do you avoid hypocrisy? Ask God to lead you one step further, enough to challenge you. Find people that want to talk honestly. Do Christian service in grateful response to God, and not as a scheme to gain anyone’s approval.

In verses 2 and 3 Jesus continues to address this issue decisively. He states that hypocrisy can happen when certain actions or attitudes are hidden. One day, however, everything will be revealed, known, heard, and proclaimed. The Pharisees could not keep their attitudes hidden forever. Their selfishness would act like “yeast” (12:1), and soon they would expose themselves for what they really were-power-hungry imposters, not devoted religious leaders. The time of this “revelation” could be the final Judgment Day when the true attitudes of these hypocrites will be exposed (see Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5). In verses 4 and 5 we hear Jesus calling His disciples “friends”, meaning that He trusted them. He explained that they might face death for their faith in Him, but He also told them to not be afraid of people who could kill the body, but they can do no more. Jesus knew that fear of opposition or ridicule could weaken their witness for Him because the natural human tendency is to cling to peace and comfort, even at the cost of one’s walk with God. Jesus said that there is only one whom people should fear-God alone.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help us to be honest servants. In Jesus Christ’s name, we pray, Amen!

Rev. Samuel N. Modise       

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