Hypocrisy: The Leaven of the Pharisees

Jesus Christ warned us of the danger of hypocrisy. In this post, let us take a look at what hypocrisy is, why you need to overcome it, and how to live a life of sincerity and truth.

(Before we proceed, just would like to thank everyone who have bought my eBook, The Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews. If you want to have your copy, click here.)

Friends, I would like you to picture in your mind your favorite actor or actress.

Now, hold that thought.

I want to tell you that whoever that person is in your mind, right now, the actor or actress you have imagined — that person is a hypocrite.

Yes, you heard that right: all actors and actresses that you see in movies are hypocrites.

At least that’s how exactly they are called in the ancient times.

What is hypocrisy?

Hypocrisy came from the Greek word hupokrisis, which means an actor under an assumed character (stage-player).

Like what you see on TV, actors and actresses completely transform themselves into a person that they are not.

In ancient Greece and Rome, actors put on a huge mask and a fake voice to augment reality.

The kind of hypocrite Christ condemns

With this in mind, the audience of Christ was very much familiar with what Yahshua means when he said in Luke 12:1:

Let’s go to Luke 12:1:

In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

The Greek word for hypocrisy here is hupokrisis. However, as you can see, Yahshua isn’t condemning actors and actresses on stage. What He was condemning were the people who are pretending to be someone else even if they are not on the stage.

To get an idea how Christ dislike the sin of hypocrisy, this is how He vividly described the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:27-28:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are FULL of HYPOCRISY and lawlessness.

Such frightening and sobering words for hypocrites.

No wonder Yahshua is telling us, “BEWARE!”

Christ is telling us that hypocrisy is dangerous. It can harm us. It can kill us.

Why hypocrisy is so dangerous

Hypocrisy is likened to a leaven.

What does leaven do?

It puffs up bread.

Even if you only put a little amount of leaven into a dough, it can easily expand and increase the volume of a bread.

In the same manner, Christ was describing the effect of a little hypocrisy in our lives.

It can expand.

It can take over our life to the point that it doesn’t bother us anymore.

We have been so good in deceiving others, that we have also successfully deceived ourselves.

That’s why Christ said, it is the leaven of the Pharisees.

Once your life is infected with this leaven, it will continually spread throughout your life until it brings forth irreversible damage, both in physical and spiritual aspect.

A sincere Christian vs a hypocrite

Now, let us take this into a more personal level.

We need to ask ourselves, are we hypocrites?

Are we being a private sinner but a public saint?

Do we have sins that we have been harboring for too long that we don’t try to overcome anymore?

You see brethren, there’s a difference between a hypocrite and a sincere Christian.

A hypocrite does not care about who he is in the eyes of God, but who he is in the eyes of others.

A hypocrite cares more about worldly rewards rather than heavenly rewards.

A hypocrite does not struggle in overcoming his private sins, but instead, he tolerates it.

The sincere Christian is the opposite.

Sincere Christians care more about what God thinks of Him, the reward He gives, and overcoming sin.

That is what we are supposed to be.

Replacing hypocrisy with sincerity and truth

Now, let me ask you again, are you a hypocrite?

I hope not.

I hope we don’t settle down with just being good in the sight of men, but we must make it a point to be good in the sight of God first and foremost.

Because when you put God first in your life, everything else will follow. 

During the Feast of the Days of Unleavened Bread, we are not only commanded to remove leaven in our lives. It is not enough to get rid of the leaven of the Pharisees.

There’s still a work to do.

That’s why we are to eat unleavened bread throughout the Days of Unleavened Bread.

In the same manner, it is not enough to simply get rid of hypocrisy, but we must also eat something to replace that.

But what could it be? II Corinthians 5:8 tells us:

“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Sincerity and truth — two words that are completely opposite of what hypocrisy is all about.

Instead of living with pretense, deceit, and misrepresentation, we are to take in genuineness, truthfulness, and authenticity.

Every time you eat that unleavened bread during the Days of Unleavened Bread, I hope you realize that that bread also signifies sincerity and truth.

When you eat it, you are expressing your desire to live in truth and be filled with sincerity.

That’s why in Psalm 51:6, it reads, God desires truth in the inward part.

From hypocrisy to sincerity

I hope this blog has reminded us of the danger of hypocrisy, why we should overcome it, and how to transform our life from eating the leaven of hypocrisy to eating the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

We need to do our best in getting rid of hypocrisy.

I hope in each passing years, we are taking in less the leaven of the Pharisees and taking in more of the unleavened bread of truth and sincerity.

(P.S. Do you want to develop an unshakable, zealous, and active faith? If yes, read my eBook, “The Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews.” Click here to learn more.)

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