In Exodus we see the battle between the false god Pharaoh and the one true God. Pharaoh continues in his stubbornness, although some of Pharaoh’s officials had been convinced by now of the reality and power of Lord of the Hebrews (v20). An admission of guilt by Pharaoh lasts but a moment (v27-28) before he returns to his hardness of heart (v34).
In Luke 11 we saw Jesus proclaim many “woes” against the Pharisees and experts in the law. Chapter 12 starts with a warning to Jesus’ listeners – be on guard against the Pharisees. Why? Because they are hypocrites and so they teach hypocrisy!
The word “hypocrite” has its origin in the Greek for a stage actor. So a hypocrite is a pretender. We must not fall into their trap and become like them – for Jesus warns us there will be no masks to hide behind:
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.
The remaining verses ask the challenging question “who do you fear?”.
Are we afraid of those who can kill the body? Do we fear those who can hurt your feelings? Those who leave negative comments on your Facebook page? Can we stand up an acknowledge Jesus as our Lord when we might be ridiculed?
We need to ask ourselves – does it make sense to fear these people?
I was listening to the author of “Cold Case Christianity” talk about the difference between believing “about” and believing “in” someone or something. As a former cop, he gave this illustration – he and his colleagues needed to believe in their bullet proof vests. It was not enough to just have belief about how their vests could stop bullets – such a belief would quickly vapourise in a hail of bullets. No they needed to believe in their vests – so they practiced shooting them so they would be ready to stand in the path of a bullet to save someone else!
God calls us to lift our heads from our momentary and light afflictions and recognise that he can stop any bullet heading in our direction:
Yes, I tell you, fear him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.
Let’s not be Christians of convenience following in the footsteps of the hypocritical Pharisees, but rather remember to acknowledge him always so that we will be acknowledged by Jesus when it really counts.