Ignore the Hypocrites

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”
Matthew 15:12‭-‬14 NLT

I read this and laugh.

Men of flesh and blood, sitting in the presence of “God come in the flesh” and they ask Him, “Do you realize…”

And we could stop right there and chuckle, knowing from our vantage point today that there is no happenstance or mistakes or luck with God, but that He is all knowing and every word and action fulfills a perfect plan and purpose.

So yes, He realizes. In fact, it was His full intention for it to play out exactly the way that it did.

Yes, the Pharisees were offended that the appearance of personal holiness they had been painting of themselves in front of others was not covering up the stench of death and sin and darkness underneath the surface when Jesus spoke plainly and clearly in front of everyone on an equal level. These Pharisees did not like being under the same scrutiny that they regularly subjected others to — and they were not humbled and repentant in the face of Truth, but they were pridefully resistant.

This is true of all who are perishing: They hear the parts of the Word of God that shine light on how their own lives don’t line up with God’s will and ignore it — while trying to find things instead that they can use to grumble about others.

I’ll say it again for agonizing who missed it —

This is true of all who are perishing: They hear the parts of the Word of God that shine light on how their own lives don’t line up with God’s will and ignore it — while trying to find things instead that they can use to grumble about others.

Christ was not offended or surprised by what the Pharisees said, and He didn’t react in offense to what they were accusing His disciples of.

And the Pharisees weren’t even saying this of Him, but of His disciples!

Christ simply explained the truth of this principal to them with an authority they did not have and were not familiar with — the light was shining in the darkness and the darkness could not comprehend it.

So Christ, the one truly in authority — demonstrated to them that if they used the law to pour out judgement and condemnation upon the people, that they could only expect the Lord to measure unto them the same judgement and condemnation for their own failure to meet the requirements of the law.

But Christ didn’t even stop there and instead demonstrated the true height of the bar of God’s righteous requirement — which wasn’t just ceremony and tradition and rote practices, but was true holiness that was beyond their grasp.

He reminded them of the types of things that are “filthy” and “nasty” in the eyes of God — which has to do with a man’s soul and not with certain particles of God’s creation upon a man’s hands or passing through his body. Defilement or sanctification of a man’s soul has eternal consequences, while what passes through the digestive tract is quickly proved to no longer be a part of the man.

They knew that washing their hands alone did not purify a priest so that he might enter into the holy of holiest, but even more importantly, his sin must be covered. This should have been a clear warning and call for repentance and awe and fear of God, but these Pharisees were more interested in how they looked before men than how they were going to stand before God.

He quoted the very verse about hypocrisy from Isaiah on this topic that we can see now speaks clearly through the OT prophets of this NT covenant principal — that demonstrates clearly that it is not only about outward appearances, but has always been about being in partnership and relationship with God (or being in opposition to Him):

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
Matthew 15:8‭-‬9 NKJV

This comes from a passage in Isaiah about those Lord has made blind and illiterate to the things of God and who have said to themselves and others very foolish things about God:

Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine; They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. For the Lord has poured out on you The spirit of deep sleep, And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers. The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this, please.” And he says, “I am not literate.” Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work Among this people, A marvelous work and a wonder; For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord , And their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?” Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
Isaiah 29:9‭-‬16 NKJV

All of this might also bring to mind verses on hypocrisy such as this from Amos:

Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord ! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him! Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it? “I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream.
Amos 5:18‭-‬24 NKJV

I wonder how often we hear the Word of God and find ourselves offended instead of humbled? I wonder how many times we have denied our own consciences and sought after what wr knew was not holy in the eyes of God Almighty?

I wonder how often we have longed to have our ears tickled with whatever fits or own comfortable understanding that doesn’t require any pruning or growth or sacrifice or self- control or dying to ourselves — instead of longing for sound, bold preaching that would have us fearfully in awe of God Almighty, wondering “how powerful and wide and all encompassing His grace must be to save a sinner such as me!”

Lord, forgive us. Grant us repentance. Do not let us remain offended and hard hearted like the Pharisees we have been in the past. And cleanse our hearts from all unrighteousness and teach us to walk upright in your path — with you closer than a friend. Amen.

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