As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we find Jesus teaching His disciples. In my last post, I talked generally about not adding any of our own opinions to the Word of God. Today, I want to talk specifically about what the Lord is teaching.
Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Luke 12:1 NIV
The Pharisees were a group of religious leaders who knew the Bible intimately. They had memorized the entire Torah (the first five books) as well as other huge sections. You would think that they, of all people, would agree with the teaching of Christ.
The problem was, they added their “yeast” to the Word. The yeast the Lord talks about is hypocrisy. Jesus saw that many of the Pharisees were hypocrites. That word in the Greek language is very specific. It’s the word they used for an actor in a play.
An actor studies his lines and gets into character. He does this so that he can convincingly portray a different person before an audience as he’s on the stage. That’s how the Pharisees viewed the Jewish religion.
For them, it was all about putting on a convincing performance before the people. They studied the traditions and laws. They practiced their roles, lines and actions. It was all a show with nothing coming from their heart.
The Lord doesn’t want His disciples to fall into this trap. Hypocrites actually get to the point where they’ve convinced themselves that they’re righteous and holy. Unfortunately, they’ve missed the whole foundation of the fear of the Lord.
“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”
Luke 12:2-3 NIV
Jesus is giving His disciples an important truth here. We would do well to listen and apply it to ourselves.
The word for hypocrisy literally means to act under an assumed persona. Your real identity is hidden, covered, under the character you’re acting out.
In the above verse, Jesus says that there is nothing covered that will not be uncovered. The truth is that hypocrisy cannot stay hidden forever. No matter how well you act it out, at some point you will be discovered as a hypocrite.
The sad thing is, by that point, you’ve convinced yourself that you’re sincere. You’ll get offended and mad that someone would dare accuse you of this evil. Unless you come to the point of repentance, you’ll sink into bitterness and defeat.
Jesus had better hopes for those under His teaching. The second sentence of the above verse is for them. He wants the apostles to live in such a way that their private conversations can be proclaimed from the rooftops.
That needs to be our desire as well. Because I’m a pastor, I’ve been in meetings with various groups and denominations. There have been times where the discussion sounded more like a political strategy meeting than a ministry.
We have to be careful that we don’t lose sight of the fact that our goal is to serve Jesus Christ – the Head of the church. It’s not about power struggles and who gets the credit for what happens. Our goals and motives should be an open book before all men.
In this way, when a move of God takes place, He gets the glory. We need to reorient our thinking to a ministry mentality. Like Jesus said, “I’m not here to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:45). This will keep us from the yeast of the Pharisees.
Question: What are some ways you can keep your life open before God and men?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi