HOST: Ron House
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
In this text, Jesus never calls the scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites” (though He will several times in the next few verses), but He does describe their actions and, in so doing, certainly characterizes them as truly hypocritical. Do as they command, He teaches, because they sit in positions of authority, but do not follow their example because they do not even follow their own teaching. The actions of the scribes and Pharisees were not motivated by their deep love for God or their firm devotion to God’s law, but rather by their love of praise and notoriety and by their cravings for power and authority. Though they exalted themselves and claimed to be closer to God than the average man, they were in fact very far from what God wanted them to be. As we live our lives in Christ, we must be careful not to fall into the path of the Pharisees, practicing religion for the sake of appearances, and exalting ourselves in the eyes of men. We must instead humble ourselves, understanding that we are all sinners redeemed by the blood of Christ and saved only by the grace of God.
How can we avoid following in the ways of the Pharisees?
Don’t forget to pray and have a great day!