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What the Bible says about Hypocrisy and Foolishness of Religious Leaders
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 27:16

The second curse spoken from Mount Ebal revolves around the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12). Exodus 21:17 mandates death for any person cursing either of his parents. It is noteworthy that disobedience to parents is usually not secret, but overt, often blatant. The word here, though, is not “disobey” but “dishonor.” Dishonor can be a disguised response to parents. The hypocrite can feign honor to parents, all the while secretly loathing them.

Along this line, Mark 7:1-13, where hypocrisy is a significant theme, becomes instructive. Some scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem traveled north to ask Christ why His disciples do not follow the oral tradition. They are referring to the halakha, which Peter, addressing the apostles at the Jerusalem Council years later, calls “a yoke . . . that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” (Acts 15:10).

In His response to the Pharisees, Jesus calls His inquisitors hypocrites, honoring God with their lips while their hearts are far from Him. They worship God in vain, He avers, since they have abandoned “the commandment of God [and hold in its place] the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8). The sin of the Jewish leadership is hidden—not obvious to the populous, which frequently considered the Pharisees and scribes to be pious. Nevertheless, their sin remains one of grave consequence. Christ concludes in verse 13: “Thus [you make] void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.”

Significant here is the fact that Christ cites the fifth commandment as His example in this discussion (verses 10-12), namely, the tradition that a man is released from the obligation of caring for his aged parents if he dedicates the funds to the Temple. Christ says that doing so is hypocritical and tantamount to dishonoring parents and to violating God's law.

Charles Whitaker
Unity and Division: The Blessing and the Curse (Part Four)

Luke 13:15-17

This healing is one of seven performed on the Sabbath. Jesus' adversaries closely scrutinized Him on the Sabbath in hopes of trapping Him in a breach of the law. A person's Sabbath conduct was the Jewish religious leaders' litmus test of conformity. Their tests followed their burdensome and humanly reasoned Sabbath rules (I John 5:3). While their rules bound people to unyielding strictures, Christ loosed the woman from Satan's bond.

Their rules against healing on the Sabbath gave them ammunition to attack despite His compassionate healings. Jesus later points out that a person is far more important than an animal, and even His enemies see no wrong in helping distressed animals on the Sabbath (Luke 14:5). The hypocrisy and foolishness of the religious leaders is obvious.

As a result, Jesus' opponents are humiliated, but the crowds are delighted. Having dishonored Christ and done the people great disservice, “All His adversaries were put to shame” (Luke 13:17). Shame will always be the result of sin. If a person does not repent of his opposition to Christ, shame will be his reward.

When sin and its curses are dealt with properly, good people rejoice. Dealing with sin in a lenient and lackadaisical way does not bring true happiness. David writes, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity” (Psalm 32:1-2). When sin is forgiven and overcome, people find true joy.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Stooped Woman (Part Two)


 




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