Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops. (Luke 12:1–3, NRSV)
Hypocrisy is probably the number one excuse people give for not going to church. Apparently, they would rather hang out with non-church hypocrites than with church hypocrites.
There is plenty of hypocrisy in the church to go around. People aren’t always what they seem to be. Putting on veneer and varnish is an old custom in the church.
- Don’t be a hypocrite
- Don’t assume that anyone else isn’t
In other words, keep your eyes on Jesus.
[Added later, emphasis mine]
Jesus’ point is not that they are play-acting, but that Jesus regards them as misdirected in their fundamental understanding of God’s purpose and, therefore, incapable of discerning the authentic meaning of the Scriptures and, therefore, unable to present anything other than the impression of piety. Important from a rhetorical point of view, Jesus does not regard the Pharisees as unique in their failure to live with integrity a life oriented around absolute love of God and neighbor. His followers, too, are susceptible; hence, he presents this warning lest they contract the same ingressive agent whose decay has already become evident among the Pharisees.
Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 480–481.