Bible Reading: Luke 11:37-54
“And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you” (Luke 11:39-41)
When Jesus spoke with the Pharisees, He was straight up. On the outside, the Pharisees seemed like devout servants of God. Yet, they fooled others and themselves into thinking they were on God’s side when, in fact, their hearts were far from God, even against God.
Hypocrisy is a dangerous sin, especially for all of us who serve God actively within our communities. A hypocrite thinks he is doing God’s will. But in reality, he is rebelling against God from the inside out. Is your heart really for God? Or is your ministry only an outward facade?
Jesus cursed the Pharisees because they gave their tithes and offerings, but there was no justice or the love of God in their hearts. What we offer to God with our lives as living sacrifices ought to be moved by a heart responding to God’s love. If our outward ministries are only because we are told to serve or for the sake of looking busy and active in church, we are hypocrites and need to repent before God.
More than that, Jesus cursed the Pharisees because they served only to get honour in the synagogue and the marketplace. They were concerned mainly about what others thought of them. This could secretly be hidden in our hearts as well. Do we serve to look busy and active in the church in front of others? Are we only trying to impress our friends, parents and cell group leaders? If our service is not from a heart with love for God alone, we are hypocrites who must repent.
Lastly, Jesus cursed the Pharisees for being like unmarked graves, which caused people to walk over them without noticing. In the Old Testament, coming into contact with a grave made you unclean (see Numbers 19:16). If a grave had no marking, people who walked over it would become unclean without noticing. Likewise, being disguised as saints, those who thought they were receiving God’s wisdom from these Pharisees were actually defiling themselves with sin and rebellion before God. This is a scary truth. If we are hypocrites who do not truly love God, our ministry does not serve to build up but to tear down God’s Kingdom. If we are hypocrites, we are Satan’s prime tool to ruin God’s work in this world. We are not on God’s side, and on the last day, He will say that He never knew us.
Where are our hearts? Do we truly love Him? Beg for His mercy, for God loves the worst of sinners. Nicodemus, the Pharisee, was saved when He humbly sought Jesus to find the truth.
Lord, have mercy on us, for there are many hidden hypocrisies in our ministry. Have mercy on us and give us whole hearts to serve You. Plant in us a love for You. Forgive us for our hypocrisies and renew our hearts. We want to be Your true children, yet we don’t know where to start. Have mercy on us and lead us in Your ways. In Jesus’ name, amen.