Monday, November 19, 2012



Speaking of hypocrisy, Jesus turns His attention to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, warning His disciples of this problem within themselves. 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.
Jesus makes it clear that He wants His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and He defines it as hypocrisy. Jesus is saying first to pay attention to the primary sin of the Pharisees. Second, He speaks of this sin as a leavening agent. The nature of yeast or leaven is that it quietly influences everything it touches-usually the dough. In a sense Jesus is saying to be careful that the attitude and mindset of the Pharisees can be so easily caught. Thirdly, Jesus is saying that the disciples need to be careful not to embrace or be caught up in the outward show of a Pharisee. These warnings could be summarized in Isaiah's description of hypocrites: "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

It's interesting to me that Jesus feels the need to give this warning to His disciples precisely when the crowds began to grow. With the larger crowds following along, it was much easier to go the way of the Pharisees-to please the crowd or to appear as the righteous.

So what is the antidote to this kind of hypocrisy? The primary antidote for this kind of hypocrisy is to be vulnerable about your struggle with being honest. In other words, the antidote is full disclosure. This is exactly what Jesus gives as His antidote. He says,
"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."

Then, after giving this serious warning, He also gives them three words of encouragement. FIRST-DON'T BE AFRAID: "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."
SECOND-PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGEMENT BEFORE THE ANGELS: "I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever publicly disowns me will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."
THIRD-THE SPIRIT OF GOD WILL TEACH YOU WHAT YOU NEED JUST IN TIME: "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."

This section summarizes what it means to walk with Jesus. 1. There is a great danger in being contaminated by the religious leadership. 2. You must choose to counteract that contamination with a full confession of who you are. 3. Jesus will envelope you with His protection and His Spirit.

What is evident to me is that the only sure way to walk with Jesus without this contamination is to stick close. It's constantly asking the question What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD?). Or, a new way to view it is to discipline yourself to continually bring THE JESUS FACTOR into your life. Once THE JESUS FACTOR is introduced, you know what to do and say. THE JESUS FACTOR. Maybe THE JESUS FACTOR is the ultimate answer to WWJD?. When THE JESUS FACTOR is brought into your personal life, your marriage and family, your business life, your neighborhood and in your friendships, you know everything is going to be OK. Try using THE JESUS FACTOR and you'll see the difference it makes in you.