Tuesday, May 11, 2021

On a hillside 21) B6 Beware hypocrisy


They hadn’t got a clue how Jesus would respond. They’d have never have criticized him so openly. And we see Jesus as rarely we see him: With what tone of voice he quotes at them their revered prophet. Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; These people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain.  Hypocrites. Self-righteous hypocrites. And he goes further. He charges them with avoiding caring for parents -a key commandment - by a loophole called 'Corban' which designates money to God and avoids helping parents.  Focusing on the outward can get it so wrong. 

Their outward seriousness about God has completely missed the inner self.  That’s what makes it hypocrital!.  They showed an outward cleanliness without clean hearts. His judgment is that their hearts are far from God. Jesus summons the crowd and says: Listen to me What matters is the INSIDE.  He's so emphatic. Nothing outside a man can make him unclean by going into him.  Rather it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean.   

I guess the Pharisees shuffle off, rebuked and angry.  Jesus goes into a house where his  disciples show they don’t really understand him.  Are you so dull?  They’ve been brought up in a world of strong religious rules. Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean. For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach and then out of his body. But what comes out of a man is what makes him unclean.   I’M TALKING ABOUT THE HEART.  Of course the Bible uses the word heart not in the biological sense but as the deep inner self – the centre of our emotions, drives, choices. We like to think that human choice takes place logically in our minds, but the truth is that choices emerge from deep longings over which we have far less control than we would with.  The heart is the HQ of my personality.  And Jesus says: The heart is where God starts and continues his work. That’s why David pleads: Create in me a pure heart. It’s the inside that counts, The heart can be far from God. 

From the heart come powerful negatives as well as positives.  Here Jesus mentions the negativesFor from within, out of men’s hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside.   (Mark 7 20-23).  Notice how the list includes arrogance and stupidity....majoring on issues of no importance.  

As a young person I remember being told an odd story about the camel’s nose in the tent.  I wonder if this story was ever told you.  You are comfortable warm in your tent when the camel puts its nose under the flap.  But it’s not taking up much space and a little bit of camel is all right. You hardly notice that its head is inside and more and more of its neck. It’s gradual and there’s still room and a leg, another leg, and then the HUMP . To your horror its right in the tent and you can’t move.  It's taken over. 

But we must come to the positives which matter most.


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