Reading through the events of Tuesday of Holy Week it’s easy for me to get annoyed and even judgmental of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other religious leaders of the day. It’s easy for me, on the outside looking in, to think, “They were clearly astonished and amazed by Him, why wouldn’t they just believe?… How could they not see how he was the very One they had been waiting and longing for? … How could they be so rude, arrogant, stubborn?”
Jesus describes their hypocrisy this way:
“The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ (Matthew 23:2-7)
Humility is tough. It’s hard to admit that you’re wrong. What I find fascinating about my own heart, is that while fighting against those who judge others or those who say one thing and do another, I’ve found that I am doing the very thing I’m fighting against. I may not judge the “sinner” like the Pharisees of our time… but sadly, I can often be found guilty of judging the Pharisees themselves. In fighting so hard for grace for all, I forget to extend it to those who perhaps need it most… for only once we’ve experienced God’s abundant, life-giving, freeing grace can we then extend it to others.
So today, on this Tuesday of Holy Week, I give up my own hypocrisy. I give up saying one thing and not actually doing it. I give up offering judgment instead of grace… to EVERYONE, not just those who I see “worth it”. I give up doing anything simply “for show”. I give up thinking I’m better than those who think they’re better than everyone else. Oh, that pride is a tricky thing!
Keep me humble, Jesus. As we continue down this road to Calvary and my road through life, keep my eyes focused only on You, not concerned with the people around me, except to offer them grace. May we be overwhelmed by the freedom that comes in trusting You to be God, and realizing that we don’t have to be. Help us give up our hypocrisy and, in doing so, be better able to point to You and Your great love for us ALL.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen