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God’s Word for You

Luke 12:1-3 hypocrisy

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, August 3, 2018

Warning Against Hypocrisy

After the meal with the Pharisees, something extraordinary happened. A crowd that had gathered outside during the meal, in part because of what was being said in the house between Jesus and the Pharisees, was now turning into a very large number of, thousands of them (Greek “myriads”). The Greek phrase I have translated “As this was happening” is a classical Greek idiom meaning “In connection with this,” meaning that it was while the meal was taking place, but also because of the meal and its conversation.

12 As this was happening a crowd of many thousands gathered to him, so many that they were trampling on one another. Then Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be made known. 3 So then, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the rooftops.

At the beginning of the meal in chapter 11, Jesus was alone as he entered the Pharisee’s house. Now after the meal was over, word had spread about what Jesus was saying to his host and his companions, probably through the Pharisee’s servants.

The word “hypocrisy” is straight out of our Greek text. The prefix hypo- means “under,” and the whole word means “something or someone under the mask.” It was a term used the actors of the Greek plays, who held up masks in front of their faces during as they performed. In the Bible, this word is always used in a negative sense, not of actors, but of pretenders and especially of false teachers, and in this way, the word has come down to us in our modern sense of the hypocrite: someone who pretends to be one thing, but underneath is something else.

It was the teaching of the Pharisees that was especially dangerous. They were not sincere at all in their faith but made everyone else cower under their traditions. But Jesus comforts his disciples: what the hypocrites do will be revealed. Nothing at all will be secret in the Judgment before God.

We don’t need to wait for Judgment Day, though. When a false teaching is held up against the Word of God, it is exposed. Those who cling to false teaching are exposed, too. If they are the teachers of those things, we have a warning not to listen to them, and even to be cautious when they seem to speak the truth. But if they are not the shepherds but only the sheep of their flock, we have an obligation to be compassionate, to share the truth of the gospel with them, and help them to see the cross of Christ for their salvation.

Your task is not to uncover every hypocrisy, but to remain faithful to God and to give him glory. Show your faith, share it, and be strengthened in it as you read your Bible, bring your family to worship, pray together, and thank God with your life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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