每日诗歌: 天父領我 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieJryEW_IXc)
Exodus 37 [Read]
Exodus 38 [Read]
Matthew 23:23-39 [Read]
A few years long ago, a young man made a short video which became extremely popular on the internet. The subject matter was “religion versus Jesus”. This video struck a chord in the heart of millions of believers and non-believers, because it brought one of the most controversial issues of Christianity to the surface – hypocrisy.
In the last two days, we read a chapter which contains uncharacteristically harsh words spoken by Jesus in the book of Matthew. The target was the Pharisees and scribes, and the main issue was hypocrisy. In this chapter, Jesus called them “hypocrites” 6 times for “they do not practice what they preach” (Mt 23:3). He warned them the horrible consequences they would face in the end “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (23:33). Jesus condemned hypocrisy. There is no question about it.
Most people probably read this chapter with strong emotion “way to go, Jesus! They deserve it”. But one thing easily gets lost in such an emotion is the command of Jesus before his condemnation “you must obey them and do everything they tell you” (23:3). Jesus was against the sin of hypocrisy those Pharisees and scribes committed, but he was never against the religion they preached. Not only that, he wanted his disciples to do everything they told them. Jesus was a religious man, and he encouraged all to follow the teaching of religion. There is no question about it either.
So, what is the lesson here? Hypocrisy is a serious sin, and it is perhaps more serious than many other sins because it causes people to stumble, especially those who do not have the maturity to seek God’s Word on their own. Such people jump to conclusion quickly and gladly spread the malicious words about religion or church. But the sin of equating hypocrisy with religion or church is as bad as hypocrisy itself, for both caused people to stumble. Both of them come from the Evil One. Hence, let us guard our heart against both temptations.
“Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God” (Mic 6:8). This is what the Lord required of us. O Lord, help us not fall into the trap of hypocrisy or quick condemnation. Give us the humility needed to act justly and love mercy, so we may walk closely with you. Amen!
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