1. It is good to recall the events that went before to understand this passage before. It was still Tuesday of Jesus’ last week on earth. On Sunday, two days before, he was escorted by thousands of people who proclaimed Him to be the Messiah. On Monday he had cast out the money changers and those who were doing business in the temple and thus took upon Himself the right and authority to teach and heal within the temple. If People rally round Him as the Messiah and rise up against the Romans, the Romans would blame the Jewish leadership for not maintaining order consequently would be removing those leaders from the office. Christ was the threat to their position, power, wealth and security. They were forced to discredit Jesus before the people.
2. In this particular passage, Jesus spoke to the crowd and to the disciples, not to the religionists, not to the Pharisees and Scribes. There are at least four reasons why Christ warned the crowd and disciples.
· Everyone needs to know what is true and what is false in religion.
· Everyone needs to have the hypocrisy and sin of religion exposed.
· Everyone needs to be warned against following the error of religion. Just being religious is not enough.
· Everyone needs to have his false ideas about Christ corrected.
3. Jesus is condemning false religion and teachers, but not the truth. False teachers can and do teach some truth. The truth is to be obeyed no matter who teaches it. The truth and our duty to obey it are not invalidated just because a hypocrite teachers it.
4. False religion is a religion of show and display.
· They changed their appearance, dress and clothing to draw attention to themselves.
· They loved the positions of honour, special seats and places of recognition. They are those who love the restricted neighbourhoods and clubs and the preferred lists.
· They love the titles that honoured and exalted them. They title was simply ‘Rabbi’ which meant teacher or master.
5. There is nothing wrong with living holy and godly lives, with being religious, but it is wrong to draw attention to oneself instead of to the Lord. We should not overdo or remake our outward being just to draw attention to ourselves.
Spirituality is heavily based on the attitude of an individual. A person seeks religion and spirituality for various reasons. Sometimes it can also be used as a tool to get a good name in the society. A man, who appears to be very pious, spiritual and deeply religious in the eyes of the society, could be in reality an arrogant and suspicious person towards his wife and children. A true religious person will not reflect any sign of hypocrisy. Therefore we should not only try to be genuinely spiritual but also should be able to distinguish the false teacher from the good one. All of us seek attention and need attention from others but care should be taken not to make that as the only priority.
The Preacher’s Outline and the Sermon Bible
William Barclay the New Daily Study Bible