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Jesus on Identifying Hypocrisy – Join islam

In Matthew 23, Jesus provided several signs for the people of his time to identify the hypocrites. Ironically, most Christians of today have likewise fallen into hypocrisy when they choose to do the very acts that Jesus warned them about.

#1 THEY FAIL TO Uphold the Torah

23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

The first sign of hypocrisy that Jesus pointed out is that the scribes and Pharisees did not uphold the laws of Moses. Jesus then commands his followers to do everything that the scribes and Pharisees tell them. This is also repeated earlier in the gospel in Matthew 5:17-19.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

However, most Christians do not do this. Instead, they take their commandments from Paul, who told them that righteousness does not come from the law (Galatians 2:11-21), the law is a curse (Galatians 3:10-13), and only a fool would circumcise themselves, and be bound by the commandments (Galatians 5:2-6).

#2 They Equate Righteousness with Prestige

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

Another sign of hypocrisy, according to Jesus, is that the scribes and Pharisees of his time aimed primarily for outward signs of piety rather than the piety of the heart. He does this by focusing on their dress and attire. Now, compare this statement from Jesus with what we see today in the Catholic Church. Can anyone imagine that Jesus would approve of this?

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#3 They call people on earth father

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

In the above passage, Jesus explicitly tells his followers to not call anyone on earth “Father.” Yet, today, the Roman Catholic Church is the most well-known for using the term “Father” to address priests. This tradition is also common in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Many Anglican and Episcopalian communities also use the term “Father” for their priests.

So, rather than upholding Jesus’ direct command, his so-called proclaimed followers chose to uphold their tradition over his clear instructions. Ironically, Jesus warned about this in Matthew 15:1-9, where he rebuked the Pharisees for upholding their traditions over the commandments.

1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”

In this passage, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and teachers of the law for prioritizing their traditions over the commandments of God. He highlights their practice of allowing people to avoid their responsibility to honor their parents by declaring their resources “devoted to God,” thereby nullifying God’s commandment with their tradition. Jesus quotes Isaiah to underscore their hypocrisy and the emptiness of their worship when it is based on human rules rather than God’s commandments.

Also, we see another instance where Paul flagrantly contradicts the teachings of Jesus by openly referring to himself as a father of the people. This is seen in 1 Corinthians 4:15, where he says,

Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

Nowhere in the Gospels does even Jesus ever call Himself “father.” Instead, He consistently refers to only God as the Father. For example, when teaching His disciples the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9, He instructs them to pray to “Our Father in heaven,” reinforcing the idea that God is in heaven and not on earth. Additionally, in Matthew 5:9, during the Sermon on the Mount, He states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” This further emphasizes that only God is the Father.

Paul: False Prophet Jesus Warned About

As mentioned in previous articles, Paul did not claim to have received his gospel from the disciples who witnessed Jesus. Instead, Paul claims that he received the gospel through revelation from Jesus in his letter to the Galatians (1:11-12).

“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”

In this passage, Paul emphasizes that the gospel message he preaches was not taught to him by any human being but claims it was given to him directly through a revelation from Jesus. This assertion would make Paul a prophet, but a prophet who consistently contradicted the actual teachings of Jesus.

This is why elsewhere in Matthew, Jesus warned his followers of such vipers. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus again addresses the issue of false prophets. In Matthew 24:11, He states,

“Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

He expands on this warning in Matthew 24:23-25, saying,

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.”

Paul claimed not only to have received his revelation from the Messiah (Christ) but to be the Messiah (Christ) himself. He makes this claim in Galatians 2:

19 For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose.

Additionally, as we saw in Matthew 5:19-20, Jesus warns about those who teach other than the commands, which we saw above that Paul did.

19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Summary

So, from this, we can see that Christians of today are defying the warnings explicitly given by Jesus and following in the same footsteps of hypocrisy. First, they do not uphold the laws of Moses, though they preach the message of Jesus. Second, their leaders’ traditions overtly flaunt lavishness rather than humility. Third, they readily call their priests fathers and blatantly disregard Jesus’ instructions in favor of their traditions.


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