Day 24

Jesus Teaches Against Hypocrisy

from the The Life of Jesus reading plan


Matthew 23:1-39, Mark 12:38-44

BY Seana Scott

I stood in the wooden church pew, too short to see the stage, and watched my mom from the side, singing loudly, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, how great Thou art…”  We attended church every Sunday. The pastor mesmerized my mom and dad with his inspirational preaching, which often included the call to “sow a financial seed.” 

So, Mom and Dad donated generously toward the church and a global ministry to feed children overseas, even while chipping away at credit card debt. Then one Sunday, the pastor was gone. Grown-ups whispered. We stopped going to church. Years later I learned the elders fired the pastor due to embezzling the tithes and offerings. 

I imagine the Pharisees and teachers of the law in Matthew 23 operated similary. Jesus says of them: “Hypocrites!” “Blind guides!” (vv.23,24).

Jesus revealed what was hidden behind their religious robes, long prayer garments, and honored positions: they were nothing they claimed to be; rather, they were “like whitewashed tombs” (v.27) and cups full of sin (v.25). They taught the law, but they followed the letter of the law not the spirit—and they cared more about the gold in the temple treasury than the righteous work of the temple itself (vv.16–22). 

It’s easy to shake our heads in disgust at this pastor or the Pharisees of the world, but if I’m honest, I think we all have hypocritical tendencies. There are a myriad of ways we exalt ourselves in our mental comparison games. Maybe this is why Jesus emphasized that the greatest among us will be a servant (v.11) and warned that “whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (v.12). We desire greatness, but greatness in the kingdom means humility in humanity. 

This means we don’t use position and power to exalt ourselves. Even if we’re never caught, one day all things will be laid bare—and we will all give an account. And then, the humble will be exalted.

Let’s not follow the footsteps of hypocrisy. Let’s be careful to make sure the greatness we pursue is the greatness of servitude.

Post Comments (50)

50 thoughts on "Jesus Teaches Against Hypocrisy"

  1. Summer Stevenson says:

    This ❤️

  2. Nancy Singleton says:

    Greatness in the kingdom means humility in humanity.’ Powerful words that need to soak in daily.

  3. Christine F says:

    ❤️

  4. Miranda says:

    Following many recommendations, I popped over to HRT to check out yesterday’s devotional… It was very convicting and really hit home on some of my recent prayers.

    While over there, I noticed that no one leaves comments – that’s kinda sad because I get so much each day from our wonderful She community. The guys don’t know what they’re missing!

    Thanking God for the wisdom and support we share!

  5. Taylor says:

    Another great devotion today! Two questions I’m reflecting on: 1. What are my hypocritical tendencies? and 2. How do I exalt myself?

    I would also recommend reading HRT today! The writer gives some great examples of spiritual poverty that also challenged me to reflect on.

    So thankful Jesus meets us with MORE grace, MORE love. May I live out of this grace and love and not be like the Pharisees.

    Quick prayer request! I think I have a sinus infection so please pray for this to pass quickly. Luckily I don’t have anything going on this weekend so can rest if needed.

  6. Searching says:

    TAMI C – praying for Chela’s health!

  7. Searching says:

    I hadn’t read this chapter in Matthew in a long time. The first 3 things that popped into my mind were 1) Can I get an Amen!, 2) the saying that beauty is only skin deep and 3) something I heard/read many years ago – that much of what we see and criticize in others are things we recognize because we do/say the same things. Lord, please help me to see myself/my motives as they really are, that I would not deceive myself about the truth of me, that I would study Your words and apply them to my life – words, deeds, thoughts.

    TAMI C – happy you have joined this wonderful community of sisters in Christ! And we ALL slip up at times, and are so thankful for His forgiveness and grace.

    MERCY – praying for Ms Carolina

    MOLLY ROHRER – wow! Praises all around for all that God has done and is doing, continuing to pray.

    LAUREL – praying for comfort and peace for Michele, you and others that loved Alex.

    REBECCA W – praying for you and the women in your new Bible study

  8. Aimee D-R says:

    Father let the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart be pleasing to you. In Jesus name, Amen

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