Day 129: The Yeast of Hypocrisy

Luke 12:1-3 :

Meanwhile, when a multitude of many thousands had gathered together, so much so that they trampled on each other, he began to tell his disciples first of all, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up, that will not be revealed, nor hidden, that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

When the crowds around Jesus had become enormous, He chose to warn them about hypocrisy and He gave them a living example: the Pharisees. We also learn here a little bit about what Jesus means by “hypocrisy.” I have been told that the word in Greek means: “One who wears a mask.” In American culture, it is more often used to describe a person who says one thing and does another. Hypocrisy is a bit more specific than that. It means that you are hiding your true intent. We might think of it as one who holds a “hidden agenda.”

When you think of it this way, it sheds a better light on these verses when they are read together. Remember that Luke compiles these verses with other ones that describe Jesus relationship with religious leaders. He records that Jesus contrasted these leaders behavior with what we really should do.

In this context, Jesus tells us that there isn’t any privacy with God. Eventually, everything we are now doing and ever have done will be common knowledge. It might surprise you that privacy isn’t really a Christian concept with all of the attention put on it by the American media. In reality, privacy supports hypocrisy. That’s what a mask does; it keeps you private. Jesus is saying that all of us will certainly be be unmasked one day. God doesn’t have a need to hide our records from anyone. He has no security risks! Someday, our secrets will be common knowledge.

This has become an issue of critical importance in the United States today which requires that its president be transparent about their loyalties to the United States by proving that they are a natural born citizen. It has been discovered that President Obama has sealed a large number of his documents from view such as his passport. Is this not “one who wears a mask?” Is this not similar to President Nixon who tried to hide his behavior from the public eye? Is every military classified document classified to protect the country or to protect certain people from being exposed?

The other idea that Jesus uses in His illustration is the idea of “yeast.” Yeast is a kind of rotting process that is added to bread to make it rise. You only have to put a little bit of this rot into your dough and it will spread out evenly on its own and puff up all the dough. That’s a pretty good description of the Pharisees. Their hypocrisy allowed them to enjoy protection from public scrutiny which allowed them to become very proud and bold in their evil behavior behind their mask. It also spread to the people in such a way that they were too good for their own Messiah. This puffed up attitude is still around today. Many refuse to accept the testimony of Jesus as God’s only Son and bad motives are still quite commonly discovered.

More important than the government, there are “Christian leaders” who are using their positions of authority to get people to give them money or to gain political power. Jesus has promised that these people will be exposed and He tells us that we are to cut ourselves off from them. Only by completely disconnecting yourself with the dough that has yeast in it can you keep yourself from being infected. We need to get away from these kinds of leaders and remove them from office as soon as possible before it spreads any further and stay close to leaders who have integrity.