Sunday School Perspective: Hypocrites
Matthew 23:1-8, 23-26
by Minnie Malone Cook
The study of the lesson is in the book of Matthew: Chapter 23: Verses 1-8, 23-26 and it offers study about religious leaders that are two-faced, phony and hypocritical.
Key Verse: “Saying, The Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Matthew 23:2-3 KJV: These verses reveal that Jesus told the people to obey the teachers of the Mosaic Law but not to imitate their actions because they did not practice what they taught.
The lesson topic for Sunday, July 8, 2018 is “Hypocrites!” and it reveals that believers must be conscientious and always living to please God not man.
The objective for students and readers is to embrace the difference between just versus unjust actions and always aim for unselfish fairness with grace and mercy.
Unjust Leadership (Matthew 23:1-4)
The lesson unfolds with the Jesus addressing the disciples and countless others about the Jewish religious leaders giving them credit that they were teaching the Mosaic Law; however, he criticized their ability to follow their teachings. They failed to walk the path that they taught offering unjust leadership. “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Verses 1-4)
Self-seeking Leadership (Matthew 23:5-8)
These verses offer the actions of self-seeking religious leaders that sought approval of others and self fulfillment. They fail to recognize that Jesus was the head of the church. “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.” (Verses 5-8)
Consequences (Matthew 23:23-26)
These verses reveal Jesus’ teaching about the consequences of unjust leaders. The Pharisees and scribes were misleading people because they were more concern with themselves looking righteous to others being praised for their righteousness. Their lack of concern for others revealed that their hearts were corrupt. Their judgment for their consequences was sealed. Students and readers, we must seek the Lord’s approval in everything. Jesus knows our hearts. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Verses 23-26)
PRAISE THE LORD.