“Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?”
– Matthew 22:18
Regarding Jesus, the Bible tells us that “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made” (John 1:2-3). The “all things” includes you and me. It also consists of the pompous and arrogant sects in the world that are displayed for us here in the Pharisees and Herodians. These two Jewish groups were polar opposites yet set-aside their differences to join forces against the Lord Jesus. They acted in a way that went against what they claimed, which is the very definition of a hypocrite.
At first glance, we may have the impression that Jesus hates the Pharisee and Herodian. Although at enmity with Him, Jesus did not hate them. Jesus cried out for them, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Even when they were nailing Jesus to the cross, He cried out to the Father for their forgiveness. Make no mistake, there was no shadow of hatred in our Savior, only a desire for the “all things” to recognize their Maker.
Do you think it pleased our Lord to call them hypocrites? We may often look at these scenes in the Bible and say to ourselves, “Yes, Jesus, get ’em!.” Often that same attitude carries over into our own lives. I do not think it pleased Jesus at all. Nevertheless, their sin had to be pointed out. Jesus had to tell His children, the ones He created, hard truths. The Savior not only did this to those who were against Him, He also corrected those who followed Him intimately as well. We need only to look at the lives of Peter, James, and John as examples (Matt. 16:23; Luke 9:55-56).
The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus does not want anyone to suffer eternal damnation but desires salvation for all (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:32). This is why He is long-suffering and patient with us. Unfortunately, we mistake that patience and grace towards us as approval of our sin. When it is pointed out, many make the mistake that Jesus “hates” when all the while, it is done with the most loving of hearts. A heart that was broken and died for each one of us.
Consider your heart how you view others? How do you look at those in the leadership of our country and those sleeping on the sidewalks? Do you look at them in disgust, or do you see them in need? Just like us, they are included in the “all things,” and it should grieve our hearts when we know that they do not recognize their Maker. May our desire to call down thunder on them be changed, justice will come soon enough. May we ask the Lord’s Spirit to descend upon them and restore.
“All men are our neighbours, and we are to love them as ourselves. We are to do this on the basis of creation, even if they are not redeemed, for all men have value because they are made in the image of God. Therefore they are to be loved even at great cost.”
– Francis Schaeffer