Jesus Preaches About Repentance and Changing From Fruitless Ways
In contrast to the blessings given by Jesus in the Mt. Of Olives, there were specific woes that were said against the hypocrites of the time who attempted to appear one way but acted in a different way. While this can apply to any profession, individual, or attitude of a person, in the time of Jesus, the pharisees and scribes were known to live a life of hypocrisy.
The first denunciation made included the actions that the hypocrites take. They say one thing and do another.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others.” – Matthew 23:1-5
Instead of following the advice or guidance that they preach, hypocrites do the opposite and expect others to follow only what is being said. Hypocrite in Greek means an actor or someone who plays a part. It is not someone who actually is looking to do what they say. Jesus is tired of seeing people cast burdens on his people while those that cast those burdens don’t even lift up the smallest amount of the burden. As seen with the prophets, most prophets did lift themselves a heavy burden to be messengers of GOD to the people. They did as GOD would tell them to do and made sure not to fall into the wrong road. Here, there is a sharp contrast to what appears to be as opposed to what should be practiced.
Therefore it is important to have discernment when dealing with teachings and learnings. There may be those that preach but don’t practice. There may be those that practice but don’t preach. However, it is important to pay attention and work hard not to become a hypocrite as even those most versed in the scriptures in the time of Jesus were liable to errors.
The difficult part to understand is that Jesus was making it a point for the Pharisees and scribes and any hypocrite of the time to change their ways. Tough love is also love. It is a way to wake up those who have turned their heart to stone and have fallen for the pleasures of life like the money, lust, and similar distractions. Jesus is trying to wake up and breath new life into the dry bones of those that had fallen asleep spiritually as they were living materialistically. Instead of seeing this as a warning sign of repentance and salvation as the prophets did, the Pharisees and scribes took offense.
How will we take those difficult passages in the Holy Bible that allow us to experience repentence and salvation. Will we attempt to change and walk the right path or will we take offense?