Friday Morning, 18 Oct 2019 – Matthew 23:23-39 ~ on hypocrites and hypocrisy

Friday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose beloved Son first suffered pain and crucifixion before entering into glory: Mercifully grant that we, walking in his footsteps, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 23:23-39 (NLT)

Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders (Cont.)

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed. Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’

“But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started. Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?

“Therefore, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law. But you will kill some by crucifixion, and you will flog others with whips in your synagogues, chasing them from city to city. As a result, you will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time—from the murder of righteous Abel to the murder of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you killed in the Temple between the sanctuary and the altar. I tell you the truth, this judgment will fall on this very generation.

Jesus Grieves over Jerusalem

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
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Morning Reflection:

on hypocrites and hypocrisy

Hypocrisy: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs
to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.

Jesus continues to describe the nature of hypocrisy in today’s reading.

  • sticklers for details, but blind to great principles
  • distortion of God’s will as revealed in Scripture
  • elevation of the authority of human interpretations
  • flawed doctrine leading to ruinous practice
  • concern for outward appearance instead of inward purity
  • self-righteousness preventing humility and self-awareness
  • self-righteousness preventing others from receiving Kingdom blessings

At the center of Jesus’ condemnation of hypocrites and hypocrisy is the failure to recognize and accept him as the Messiah – the Son of the Living God and the only way to the Father. The result is disastrous – they will receive the full force of God’s wrath on the day of judgement.

Questions for consideration

  • Can you think of areas in your life that reflect hypocrisy, i.e. your behavior doesn’t reflect your beliefs? Please explain.
  • Self-righteousness prevents self-awareness and results in false pride.  Can you think of areas in your life that need honest examination in light of God’s word? Please explain.
  • What do you consider more important, outward appearance, or inward purity? How does that actually work out in your life? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:  For Holy Thought

O God, without whose beauty and goodness our souls are unfed, without whose truth our reason withers: Consecrate our lives to your will, giving us such purity of heart, such depth of faith, and such steadfastness of purpose, that in time we may come to think your own thoughts after you; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
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“From the Inside Out” – Maranatha! Music

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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