Religious Hypocrisy

“Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” (John 18:28-32)

Our passage plays out in a series of conversations between Pilate and the Jewish leaders outside the palace fortress, and Pilate and Jesus inside in the palace. The reason for the Jews remaining outside is that they practiced an application of Old Testament law that forbade being in the home of a Gentile. They would be ceremonially unclean and not be able to participate in the Passover feast. So they stayed outside.

Immediately we see the hypocritical character of these Jewish leaders. Here is spiritual legalism and hypocrisy on display. They were ultra-concerned about the Old Testament law with respect to ceremonial cleanness, but with respect to plotting to kill an innocent man they have no concerns whatsoever. “Would you like to come in?”

“NO! We must be religiously clean. Could we talk about killing Jesus outside?”

Perhaps you’ve endured religious hypocrisy. You’ve thought about walking away from Christianity entirely wondering if there is anything real or authentic. I want you to see in this moment, real Christianity is the Christ inside the palace, not the pretenders outside.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

©Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here

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1 comment

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  1. Tammy

    “I want you to see in this moment, real Christianity is the Christ inside the palace, not the pretenders outside.” Thank you for the reminder Steve…hope all is well.

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