Posts from July 2019

Hypocrisy: Whitewashed Tombs

Matthew 23:27, 28 Attitudes towards and practices involving a dead body differ radically from culture to culture. When the writer was a teenager, he remembers a funeral in the community that involved a child’s death. The unfading part of his memory was the family’s reaction at the funeral. So much physical contact with the body occurred that those in charge of funeral services had to restrain the family from removing the body from the casket. The writer once lived in…

Cups and Dishes

Matthew 23:25, 26 Practical expressions of religious purity frequently are strange. Perhaps the strangest expressions of purity are found in what devout persons focus on as “essential for purity.” Examples are plentiful. In some religions, people reason themselves to this conclusion: “The essential way to express my devotion to religious purity is to destroy people who disagree with me.” Jesus rejected that thinking in Matthew 48 by declaring such thinking cannot reflect God. Or some reason: “I can give more…

Hypocrite: Details or Substance?

Matthew 23:23, 24 Determining the important is essential to everyone! Always there are priorities! Priorities are based on properly grasping what is more important among the numerous importants. Consider. Parents ‘lay the law down’ to a 14 year old: “Under no circumstance are you allowed to drive the car!” The 14 year old arrived home after school. The house was empty but on fire. Should he drive the family car parked in the garage to the street? If he does,…

Hypocrite: Artificial Distinctions

Matthew 23:16-22 Years ago a Christian lady often remarked to fellow Christians, “I would never say that in a church building!” The “that” was rarely something evil. To her, it was just an inappropriate statement [or action] for “inside a church building.” She had a strict spiritual protocol for what was appropriate and inappropriate in church buildings. Some things always were inappropriate to be said or done “inside a church building.” While those things were never “evil” things, they were…

Hypocrisy: Converts

Matthew 23:15 NKJV Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Matthew 23:14 does not occur in the oldest manuscripts of Matthew. The problem of exploiting the helpless and afterward performing a religious act instead of repenting is cited as a characteristic of misguided Israelites [including leaders] in some Old Testament periods. The problem…