Jesus Rebukes the Hypocrite
By Lance Mosher
Out of everything Jesus taught on in the New Testament, what would be the five subject matters Jesus addressed the most? It is hard to say, and it depends on how you count things. Regardless of how it is counted, I believe the concept of integrity would be near the top of the list. What does a person of integrity look like? He is a man of his word. She is a woman who measures up to her own standard of judgment. He is someone whose heart and words are in the same place.
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Verse five of this passage is one of eighteen times the Greek word, ὑποκριτής (hupokrites), is used in the Bible. All eighteen times it is found in the Bible, it comes straight from Jesus’ mouth. In Jesus’ time, this word was one way of referring to a stage actor – someone who pretends to be someone he or she is not. In this passage, Jesus rebukes the one who is a hypocrite. He rebukes the one who measures out and judges others by higher standards than he judges himself. He rebukes the one who lacks integrity. He rebukes the actor in a religious production.
In some cases, where people lacked faith, Jesus had patience and gentle instruction. In cases where someone asked the wrong question with the right motives, Jesus had time to spare to correct the question. However, during His work on earth, when Jesus came across hypocrites, He exposed them for who they were and rebuked them publicly. Since hypocrisy comes by proclaiming something about oneself that is not true, hypocrisy can never be performed without intention. The star hypocrites of Jesus’ time (the scribes and the Pharisees, see Matthew 23) were destroying their own souls, and they were misleading those around them who sincerely sought the truth of God’s word.
Through His word, Jesus continues to expose and rebuke the hypocrite. Sometimes, the Scriptures help us in our lack of faith. Other times, the Scriptures answer our questions and keep our motives in check. But there has also never been a woman or man to humbly and sincerely read the Scriptures and not recognize the rebuke of the hypocrisy in her or his own life. Where has the Bible convicted you? What part of your life has been exposed?
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Look for the hypocrite in the next passage.
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
On the Day of Judgment, Jesus says that He will meet many who claim Jesus as their Lord, yet, they don’t even know Him, much less, obey the Father’s will. Again, all eighteen times the word for hypocrite is used in the Bible comes from Jesus Himself. Do what it takes to be a person of integrity, giving Jesus no reason to utter it even one more time.
Except where noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation