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24. WHO IS A HYPOCRITE? (Matt.23:1-12)

BACKGROUND: When Jesus publicly criticized the Pharisees and the teachers of the law it was as big a scandal as it would be in our day to call famous religious leaders hypocrites on TV. "Sitting in Moses' seat" meant being qualified to teach the Law of Moses, that is: the Old Testament (vs.2).
  1. What were the characteristics of a hypocrite in Jesus time (vs.2-7)?
    • Say in one sentence what Jesus had against the Pharisees and teachers of the law.
  2. What are the characteristics of a hypocrite in our own time?
    • Where can you meet Pharisees in our time?
    • What kind of teaching increases the number of Pharisees in Christian fellowships?
  3. By what standards did the Pharisees of Jesus time categorize people?
    • By what standards do the hypocrites of our day categorize people?
  4. Why do people usually value titles and degrees very much (vs.7-10)?
    • How important would you say degrees and titles are in your Christian fellowship?
    • What, according to Jesus, is wrong with titles and degrees?
  5. Why is it sometimes difficult even for Christians to become servants of others (vs.11)?
    • What is the difference between being a servant (in the sense how Jesus uses the word in verse 11), and having an inferiority complex?
    • Describe a Christian leader who takes verse 11 seriously.
  6. What does verse 12 mean in practice?
    • Tell an experience of how verse 12 came true in your life.
  7. In what respect was Jesus different from the religious leaders of his time?
    • Why didn't Jesus ever demand respect and position for himself, even though he would have deserved them more than anyone else in the whole world?
  8. What is the most important teaching of this passage to you personally? What about to your Christian fellowship?

GLAD TIDINGS: Jesus never tied up heavy loads for others to carry. Quite on the opposite - he took the sins of all the mankind on his shoulders and carried them to the cross.

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