The Marks Of A Hypocrite 2
Chan Gin Kai
It was an unpleasant dinner for Jesus. But it turned out worse for the Pharisee and his friends, for Jesus boldly rebuked their hypocrisy.
And they were hypocritical in so many different ways...
Using Evasions & Loopholes
One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” (Luke 11:45-46)
Through the way these experts interpreted the Mosaic Law, they laid very heavy burdens on the people. But these experts created evasions and loopholes. While the people became trapped in elaborate legalism, the experts knew how to make life easier for themselves. The experts in the law were supposed to serve the people, but they ended up harming them due to self-interest.
That’s what hypocrites do. Instead of using their knowledge to help others, they apply it to their benefit. And when the wrong they do becomes apparent, they know how to hide behind the rules. A person can be wrong and immoral, yet stay on the right side of the law. They know how to make use of people and get away with it. And they know how to manipulate situations so that others take the blame.
They may be able to avoid punishment, but nothing is going to change the fact that they are wrong. The law may not catch up with them, but God will. There are people who are blind to their hypocrisy, but God sees them.
Cozying Up To Big Names
“Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in His wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. (Luke 11:47-51)
These religious leaders honoured the old prophets that their ancestors killed. Yet Jesus said they would be held responsible. Why is that so? Well, if they had truly listened to the old prophets, then why didn’t they listen to the new? And if they had understood the old prophets, they would have realised that Jesus was the one the old prophets had prophesied about. Thus, their honouring of the old prophets was nothing but pretensions. It was to make them look good.
Hypocrites pretend. That’s in their DNA, that’s what they do. They like to cozy up with big names: the celebrities, the politicians, the rich and the famous. They love to be photographed and seen associating with big names because it makes them look good and credible. But do they truly respect these big names? Do they share the same philosophy and passion?
Dig a little deeper and the truth becomes apparent. If they truly appreciate what these big names do, then why don’t they appreciate similar actions by others who are less famous?
“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” (Luke 11:52)
By burdening the people with legalism that distracts them from the Truth, these experts in the law sabotaged others’ walk with God. It was bad enough that they themselves failed, but it was worse that they pulled others down too.
We don’t always see it when hypocrites disguise as experts, and act as if they are helpful. Led on by these pretenders, people get confused on the best path to take and sometimes end up doing the wrong things. Projects may get derailed. Money may be lost. Relationships may break apart. Reputations may be ruined.
Hypocrites always leave behind a trail of destruction. Expect it; be prepared for it.
Attacking Those Who See Through Their Hypocrisy
When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say. (Luke 11:52-54)
Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and confronted them. He hoped they would listen to his warnings, and change. It would have benefited them and also others who are hurt by their actions too. But instead of seeing their wrong, they didn’t take it well and turned malicious. They looked for ways to attack Jesus. And we know what happened as a result...
Hypocrites never respond well to efforts to change them because it hurts their pride. Anyone who knows the truth about them is a threat, for the hypocrites fear they’ll be exposed. So what do hypocrites do? They attack people who see through their lies. They try to silence them or discredit them. They find ways to attack them, with a vengeance.
So why are we surprised when hypocrites turn against us? I should have expected it then. And I must be watchful for it will happen again.
The scary thing is, the hypocrites put Jesus to death. How far will the hypocrites go with us? The encouraging thing is, God raised Jesus from the dead. We will rise again.
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God". Gin Kai joined the Central Christian Church in 1988.