The following is for theists and atheists. For theists it can be verified from the Bible, no doubt you can find the chapter and verse yourself. For atheists enjoy as you would Lord of The Rings or a Steely Dan song.
This study looks at an incident in which Jesus is reproached for failing to observe rituals and responds by accusing the Pharisees of hypocrisy. In addition to hypocrisy, lawyers are accused of administering the Law in an autocratic and unjust way and of perpetuating persecution of the just for selfish gain from the beginning of time. The lawyers since Moses’ time where Levites as where the priests who were descendant from Moses’ brother Aaron (patrilineage).
The Pharisees and Lawyers, or Scribes, are the bad guys of the New Testament. In this incident the tension between them and Jesus is building, their hatred and fear is increasing and evidence is mounting against Jesus. They start to plot against him and set traps for him.
This study looks at this incident combined with the previous four verses and the first three verses of the next chapter to uncover another meaning or lesson relevant to the teaching of Jesus.
Jesus, his apostils and followers, like John the Baptist’s followers, had dispensed with some of the many rituals and prescriptions that controlled the daily lives of pious people. This included ritual washing, avoidance of certain foods completely or at certain times, ritual consumption of certain foods etc. Jesus had even said that ritual circumcision was not essential.
Hypocrisy of the Pharisees
Jesus accuses the Pharisees of performing rituals to maintain and outward appearance of piousness that covers up their greedy and wicked intensions. He points out that for someone who professes to believe in a God that created them this is really stupid, such a God can surly see through their “holier than thou” act.
Jesus says that their apparent generosity in alms and tithes is actually done to elevate their status in their community. They give material things not out of compassion but for selfish reasons.
Hypocrisy of the Lawyers
Jesus accuses the lawyers of making life difficult for well-meaning pious people by forcing them to comply with their interpretation of the Law but not even complying at all themselves. He says that by their acts they carry the guilt for all persecution that kills real knowledge in order to maintain a false knowledge system that benefits them.
Leaven is a substance that is added to dough to make bread. Leaven starts a fermentation process that adds bubbles to the dough. Only a small amount of leaven compared to the amount of dough is required. Leaven could also be a small amount of previously leavened dough, in this way each new batch of bread gets a property from the previous batch and passes on the property to the next batch.
Jesus warns his disciples against even a tiny bit hypocrisy within themselves. Like leaven it cannot be kept hidden, it will affect everything they do and will be passed on to those whose lives they touch.
Jesus calls our intellect our eye. He calls the truth light and falsehood he calls darkness. We must use this intellect on ourselves, our entire being. He says that if we use our “eye” properly there will be no falsehood in us.
The Pharisees and Lawyers are the bad guys of the New Testament. Jesus accuses them of being wicked, hypocrites, greedy, proud, autocratic, and unjust. Not only those living in his time but since the beginning of time. It is easy for us to see these faults in them and condemn them but can we examine ourselves as critically for hypocrisy? The following are not of themselves bad but are typical activities of hypocrites:
· 1) Acts of charity.
2) Public display of religious; gestures, hymns, music, mantras, charms, artefacts, clothing and so on.
3) Progress in the hierarchy of a religious or spiritual organisation.
4) Pre-nominal titles (Mr, Mrs, Dr, Professor, Pastor, Father), post-nominal titles (PhD, MP, OBE).
5) Studying scriptures and texts, attending sermons, lectures and courses to increase your knowledge of religion, spirituality, morality or ethics.
6) Posting articles and comments in MyNews24.com
Luke11:33 to 53 onwards. Luke 12:1 to 3
The Light in You
33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
Woe to the Pharisees and Lawyers
37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”
45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”
53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, 54 lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees
1 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
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