Jesus is the only person in the New Testament who used word ‘hypocrite.’ And there may be a reason why. Archaeologists have discovered a city named Sepphoris, built by Herod the Great when Jesus was a boy. You could see it from a hillside on which His hometown of Nazareth was located. It housed a giant amphitheatre. The actors who put on plays there were called ‘hypokrites. They wore masks so that the audience could identify the different characters each was intended to portray. At the end of the performance the would take off their masks and the audience would cheer and clap for them. So, Practicing hypocrisy means wearing a mask designed to impress of deceive others. Ouch!
Then Jesus talks about three specific areas in which we tend to practice hypocrisy:
1) GIVING. ‘When you give…don’t announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men’ (Mathew 6:2 NIV).
2) PRAYING. ‘When you pray , go into your room, close the door and pray to your father, who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you’ (Matthew 6:6 NIV).
3) JUDGING. ‘In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and them you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye’ (Matthew 7:2-5 NIV). So, the word for you today is don’t be a hypocrite!


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