Commands of Christ: 49

Look out for the teaching and hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

Jesus said to them, “Look out, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  They concluded among themselves, saying, “It is because we have brought no bread.”  When Jesus became aware of this he said, “You of little faith, why do you conclude among yourselves that it is because you have no bread?  Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many wicker baskets you took up?  Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up?  How do you not comprehend that I was not speaking to you about bread?  Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  Then they understood that he was not telling them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew 16:6-12

Meanwhile, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot.  He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees.”  Luke 12:1

He enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15

Jesus was telling His followers to be careful what they listened to.  On another occasion (Matthew 23:1-11) He warned them that the real problem was not the content of their teaching but the conduct of their lives.  In God’s eyes, those are connected.  Hypocrisy, to do one thing and say another, is a serious matter.  The priorities of the Pharisees were out of order.  They valued appearance above substance.  They valued honor from men more highly than honor from God.  This corrupted their lives and therefore their teachings.

We need to be careful to examine our motives and live for an audience of One.  Our lives need to match our words.  We need to guard our hearts from hypocrisy.