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Devotional: January 27, 2022

By this time the crowd, unwieldy and stepping on each other’s toes, numbered into the thousands. But Jesus’ primary concern was his disciples. He said to them, “Watch yourselves carefully so you don’t get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can’t keep your true self hidden forever; before long you’ll be exposed. You can’t hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.

Luke 12: 1-3 The Message

Often, you can spot someone who is a phony. Sometimes, you only need to see a few of their actions before seeing through them. Other times, it may take a little longer. Yet in almost every case, their true colors are exposed, and their hypocrisy is on display for all the world. Here, Jesus is making that very point: hypocrisy is always exposed eventually. A person who projects a false image of themselves will let the mask slip occasionally, and all the world will see.

Jesus was concerned about the phony nature of the Jewish religious experts- the Pharisees. They were experts in the law, and could argue its finer points quite well. However, they didn’t always follow the law themselves, and they were not full of love. They were “leaders” of the Jews, but not good ones. Jesus saw this very clearly, and sought to warn his followers against imitating them.

“Protect yourself from their hypocrisy!” is the message that Jesus delivered. He saw their negative example as being especially harmful. Why? The Pharisees knew they were using the law to their own advantage, by spreading their “wisdom”, and making themselves look good. Yet they weren't really seasoning the world to grow and show God’s glory. They had the right words (the flower, sugar, eggs, etc.), but they were missing the main ingredient: God’s love.

Once, when Jeana was baking something, she didn’t realize that the yeast she was using was outdated. Needless to say, the dough didn't rise. When she checked the date on the yeast packets, she realized what she had done. The bad yeast ruined the whole baked project, and it had to be thrown out.

The Pharisees were bad yeast. We are to avoid the bad “yeast”. Not only does it waste our resources, it wastes our time. Nothing will come from following someone who is not filled with the Holy Spirit, and using the resources the Lord offers to all of us. It is kind of like the pizza company whose advertising line is, “Better ingredients: better pizza.” Jesus wants something better for His followers than the negative influence of the Pharisees.

Steer clear of hypocrites, for they want you to believe they are doing the right thing. However, they will never rise and be the kind of leaders Christ desires for us to be. We must always be aware of how we are treating other people. What are we adding to their lives? Consider this question, we seek to offer them the best we have to give. Better to strive to live a life of integrity. What one says in private ought to match what one says in public. Men and women of integrity will be able to lift up others around them-just like good yeast!

Prayer

Holy Lord,

Help me to live a life that is full of your love and kindness to all. May I always strive to use the resources you have to offer, and to be the person both in private and in public that brings honor to you. Save me from the bad influences in society, and in my life. Guide me so that I do not become a hypocrite! Daily, show me the path to follow Your Son, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I pray this prayer in His Holy name. Amen.


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