DO BE DO BE DO! This could be the chorus of a Frank Sinatra song. But for us it is a summary of the interaction of Jesus and the hypocritical religious leaders as told in the book of Matthew. It is recorded that the religious leaders did everything to be seen by men. They did good so they looked good to others. They are the DO’s in the chorus. Jesus was and still is more concerned about the BE. What will we BE? What are we on the inside? The religious leaders were about DOing. Jesus came and told them to BElieve in Him. But the religious leaders kept DOing. Jesus told them again to BElieve. But after many DO BE DO BE interactions the religious leaders chose to DO. Jesus then told them that the Kingdom of God was to be taken away from them.
In the book of Matthew there are many confrontations recorded between Jesus and the Pharisees—the religious leaders. The Pharisees CHOSE to reject what Christ offered. They hardened their hearts toward Christ. Jesus loved them and wanted to spend eternity with them. He wanted to bless them but they would have nothing to do with Him.
Matthew Henry says this about the hypocritical religious teachers; “Christ was willing to save them, but they were not willing to be saved by Him. There is nothing between sinners and eternal happiness but their proud and unbelieving unwillingness.” Jesus is the perfect gentleman. He will not force himself on anyone. As William Barclay says, “Jesus stands with outstretched hands of appeal, an appeal which men have the awful responsibility of being able to accept or to refuse.”
Matthew 23 is an incredible confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders. During this stinging rebuke, in front of many people, Jesus calls them hypocrites. A hypocrite is defined as a pretender, one who acts a part; one who wears a mask to cover his true feelings. He puts on an external show. Jesus also calls them vipers and white-washed tombstones. The viper is a poisonous snake—meaning the words that the religious leaders spoke were deadly. Tombstones—meaning they looked good on the outside but were full of death. Jesus told them they were not sons of God but sons of the devil. He called them liars.
Jesus told the people that the religious leaders put burdens on others. Their religion was working and striving for God’s blessings and man’s admiration. They chose the rules for others to follow. Jesus said that was not right! Christ came to take away this burden. We are to rest in Christ. By believing that Christ’s death on the cross will cleanse our sins and put us in a right relationship with God—we are saved.
We don’t have to earn anything, we just need to BElieve and love God. We are to live our lives empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to set us free from burdens. We are free to love, free to obey, free to BE what He created us to BE.
The religious leaders were proud of themselves and all that they knew about God. They were proud of all the good things they did. They were proud of the fact that others looked up to them. They had made an idol of themselves. Jesus said they were wrong!
The Pharisees manipulated others and the words of the Bible to get people to give money. Jesus said this was wrong.
Jesus told them that they were blind hypocrites. They were blind because they refused to see what Christ was showing them. They wanted to DO it their way. Jesus said they were wrong.
The main thing wrong with religious phonies, is they don’t make the main thing the main thing. Jesus requires the main thing BE Him and our relationship with Him. The main thing is not memorizing thousands of rules and making our lives a religious ritual—the main thing is BEing God’s kid. God wants us to enjoy Him. He wants us to enjoy the lives He has given us. Keeping rules and making a show is never the main thing. He gave us the rules so we would know what is best for us. The rules keep us out of trouble. The rules guide us into the best and happiest life.
The wrath of God comes upon religious phonies because they deny what the blood of Christ has done for them. When Christ chose to die upon the cross and to shed His blood for us, we were offered forgiveness of sins and eternal life. God gave His Son so that we might have life, even eternal life. We must accept this most awesome gift.
We are nothing more than religious phonies if we do “religious things” to be seen by men and just do good to look good to others. We can’t make the main thing in our lives the DO’S. By BEing forgiven of our sins through the cleansing of Christ’s blood, by BEing given new life by the shed blood of Christ, by BElieveing in Jesus Christ, we BEcome a child of the King.
GETTING TO KNOW JESUS
Jesus & The Religious Phonies