Jesus said to them, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, by saying: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.’” – Matthew 15:7-8 (NASB)
One thing that annoyed the bejesus out of Jesus was: hypocrites.
The word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek hypokritas, which means, acting out a performance on a stage.
These performers were all around Jesus and he couldn’t stand them. They had many a stage: the public square, houses of worship, the courts, government. They were everywhere. And just like any actor, they had their employers. The actors were under contract to pull off the drama of entertainment: to draw people’s attention, to make them captive to their performance. Their performances got the job done! The crowds, eager to get out of the drama of their own heads, were rapt. And distracted.
This is what religious hypocrites do. They draw us into their drama. And once we’re there, it’s hard to look away.
But this is precisely what Jesus calls us to do: Don’t believe the hype; believe God. Follow Jesus. Guard your heart.
You know you’re steering clear of the hypocrisy when you are able to stick with the truth of all God’s doing to heal and renew this world. Tune out the hypocrites so that you can stay attuned to God.
Don’t let me get drawn onto the stage, O God. Keep me present to your way, truth, life. Amen.