February 24, 2021
Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch" (Matthew 15:12-14).
To give you an idea of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and how they believed they were equal to, if not superior to God, you have to consult their Talmud (consisting of the Mishnah and the Gemara) and the Halakah. These texts comprise the written summary of the Jewish Oral Law (Mishnah), the commentary on the Mishnah (Gemara), and all of the laws and ordinances that have evolved since biblical times (Halakah). Together these regulated the religious observances and the daily life and conduct of the Jewish people.
No one summarizes the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees better than John MacArthur. “The Pharisees so idolized their system of tradition that they actually taught that God spent all day studying His own law and all night studying the Mishna that interpreted the law. Some believed God presided over the heavenly Sanhedrin, that the rabbis sat next to God according to their holiness, and that together they studied the Halakah (the legal part of the Talmud) and made decisions. They taught that, after God had spent such hard work studying the law and the Mishna, He spent three hours each evening playing with leviathan. The Lord was so distraught at the destruction of the Temple, they claimed, that in each of the three watches of the night He roared like a lion; and when He cried, His tears fell into the ocean and caused earthquakes. They even taught that, like themselves, God wore a prayer shawl and phylacteries. Worst of all, they taught that when Moses died, God touched his body and was therefore Himself defiled and has to be cleansed by Aaron, the first high priest. They had carefully boxed the Creator of the universe within their imaginative, petty, foolish, and wicked system.”
Matthew 23:13-30 reveals just how hypocritical the Scribes and Pharisees were in their religion. Beloved, we must be aware and critical of our own hypocrisy when it comes to religious observances and practices. Jesus made it clear (John 4:22-24) You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
“Lord Jesus, may my worship be according to Your Holy Spirit and Your truth, and not according to man’s religious doctrines, traditions, and dogma. My desire is that my daily worship will be pure and holy, honoring You above all else. May Your Holy Spirit continue to guide me in my faith, worship, and ministry. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”