2012-11-28 – If you ever wondered what the H stands for in Jesus H Christ, I can tell you. It’s gotta stand for hypocrisy. Jesus did not like hypocrisy.
I’ve been continuing my reading of the New Testament and I’m finding that this guy Jesus has a real problem with Pharisees. And it’s not a doctrinal dispute. He even says it. He is just bugged that the Pharisees only talk the talk and won’t walk the walk. And he’s hot about it. Calls them hypocrites.
He is dead set against pious show. You have to be the real deal. You have to work for social justice. Yes! It says this. The little ritual things—not so much.
I’m beginning to see a theme here: a conflict between true righteousness and show.
So what do the Pharisees ask for? They ask for the show. They want Jesus to perform “signs” and he’s unwilling to do that. All in character.
Now. I have a little question. Is there a little play on words here between “Pharisee” and “Pharaoh”? In Exodus, Pharaoh asks Moses for signs that he is the messenger of God and Moses gives signs: namely the 10 plagues. Here in Matthew, the Pharisees ask for signs and Jesus says no.
But we know where both these stories are headed: the slaying of the first born. In the Moses story, the anger is turned outward. In the Jesus story, the anger is turned inward. (He is a Jewish boy, after all!)
A traditional Jewish knock on Christianity is that it is a religion of faith rather than works. Our Jewish concept of sin is that we’ve got to first be nice to our fellow men and women. Ritual is secondary. And faith is barely mentioned. Jesus’ position in these pages mirrors the Jewish view with an added layer of faith. But bottom line, it appears that if you don’t live it, you are a hypocrite.
So where did the Christian view come from? Do I just have a distorted Jew view? I don’t think so. I really do think that faith is a more important element of Christianity than it is in Judaism.
So where does expression of faith cross the line into hypocrisy? We all recognize the easy cases. But it’s a tough question.
Jesus H Christ.
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