Jesus is a people person. No kidding, huh? But even this people person encountered some folks who just couldn’t be helped. I’m referring to the religious leaders of His time. And isn’t it bizarre that the most spiritual person who ever walked this planet would find His greatest adversaries among those who also claim to be ‘spiritual?’
I think it is.
And Jesus had many names for them…
- vipers (same thing)
- white washed tombs
- sons of the devil (no beating around the bush with that one, huh?)
There are many more and they are fun to look up. Seems Jesus was pretty good with one liners! But it’s that last one I find Him using the most—hypocrites.
This is a favorite grenade to launch today as well. People who are unchurched give “hypocrites” as the reason more than anything else. But I wonder if they really know what it means—or, more importantly, ‘meant’ back then to the listener.
A hypocrite refers to a mask wearing performer in a theatrical presentation. In ancient Greek plays one actor would often play many parts thus wearing upwards of 5, 10 or even more masks during the course of a play. So, knowing this, what was Jesus really saying about these “religious elite?”
He was saying that they were only able to “act” spiritual—but they really knew nothing of the ways of God. Instead of loving and living for God, they loved and lived for their rituals and traditions.
They were, ‘defenders of the rituals.’
And while fiercely defending these rituals, they missed God.
Don’t make the same mistake. The world has far too much religion already. Jesus didn’t come to this earth to bring religion. He came to bring relationship. Instead of fighting over rituals, fight for that relationship.