Anglican Morning Devotion for 1 February 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.”
(Proverbs 11:9; all scripture quoted is from the King James Verion)
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:41-42)
“Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” (Luke 13:15-16)
The Lord Jesus Christ did not practice ‘political correctness’ and neither should we. He called a spade, a spade; and false professor a hypocrite! The etymology of common words and terms can be quite enlightening. For example, what is the etymology of the term ‘Good Bye’ so commonly spoken in the English language? It may surprise you! From the ‘Online Etymology Dictionary, we learn the derivation of “good bye:’
Good-bye a salutation in parting, also goodbye, good bye, good-by, 1590s, from godbwye (1570s), a contraction of God be with ye (late 14c.), Intermediate forms in 16c. include God be wy you, God b’uy. The Spanish meaning is more articulate today: Vaya con Dios! (God go, or, be) with you! So, why not eliminate the abbreviation and jus say, God be with you, instead of Good bye?
In examining the word, hypocrite, we learn that it, too, has a meaningful history:
- 1200, ypocrite, “false pretender to virtue or religion,” from Old French ypocrite(12c., Modern French hypocrite), from Church Latin hypocrita “a hypocrite,” from Greek hypokritēs “stage actor; pretender, dissembler,” from hypokrinesthai
In the Mediterranean world of the time of Christ, Greek was the ‘lingua franc’ of the civilized world. So, the term hypocrite, as used by our Lord, referred to the play-acting hypocrites of false religious legalism.
A fable of Aesop reveals a wonderful example of the hypocrite and his reward:
The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: A wolf resolved to disguise himself in order that he might prey upon a flock of sheep without fear of detection. So he clothed himself in a sheepskin and slipped among the sheep when they were out at pasture. He completely deceived the shepherd, and when the flock was penned for the night he was shut in with the rest. But that very night, as it happened, the shepherd, requiring a supply of mutton for the table, laid hands on the wolf in mistake for a sheep, and killed him with his knife on the spot.
Our Lord had many terms to describe the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees, again without politically correct intentions: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34-37) Sure enough, just as the wolf lost his hope of life in his deception, so did the unrepentant Scribes and Pharisees find themselves eternally doomed by their false religious practices which they imposed on the people.
In no uncertain terms, our Lord castigates the Scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy in Matthew, some of which are here quoted: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13) Interestingly, the next verse is so very self-indicting that the modern pharisaical hypocrites omit it from their modern corrupt versions: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” (Matthew 23:14) How tragic if any might suspect the modern ministers to be guilty of ‘devouring widows houses!” The hypocrite always focuses on the meager details and omits the more important aspects of biblical doctrine:
“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.” (Matthew 23:23) Like many modern ninety-day wonders of the pulpit, theologians often argue more of the precise moment an anthill becomes a mountain instead of the benefits of salvation by grace.