"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, all your strength. Love your neighbour as yourself. All the other commandments hang on these two commands."
We have been told that Jesus knew the hearts of men; he knows what we are thinking in our heart. It seems to be vitally important to Jesus' ministry. He knows who has true intentions and who does not.
Why do I follow Christ? Is it so I will be loved by men or by God? Is it so God will bless me because of what I do? Is it for my reputation or my bank balance? Is it so I can manipulate or gain power and influence? Is it so I can feel that I am better than other people?
God has shown me through Jesus that there is nothing I do that will increase his love for me. There is nothing I can do that will decrease his love for me. I am his enemy that he loves. I am a servant that he loves. Do I truly want him to use me? Or, do I seek to use him for my own ends?
"Be on your guard..." Jesus warns his disciples. He wants us to be on alert; to be vigilant. We humans are so fickle. We change our minds so easily. Our discipline lapses too often. On this matter, we must stay watchful and ready to defeat this enemy at a moment's notice.
"against the yeast of the Pharisees..." This is a truly subversive enemy. It starts so small. It may even go undetected until it's effects are complete and in full display. It may start out with good intentions. Even if it pricks my conscience, I may choose to quickly justify my feelings with human reasoning. We are all very good at justifying the unjustifiable. We can all be good defense attorneys when it appears to be required.
"which is hypocrisy." After generations of failing to be God's chosen people, being scattered and captured, Israel finally gained the resolve to being God's holy people. They strived for purity. But, they strove for purity in the wrong sense. They were so concerned about being distinct, they forgot about how they were distinct. The priests and the religious leaders were given authority to direct how Israel would live.
They mistook God's directions for their directions. They confused God for themselves. They enjoyed the power. The power corrupted. They decided who was righteous and who was not. They decided who was clean and who was not. All while convincing themselves that their decisions were God's decisions and God's judgements.
While they reveled in their power and reputation, they forgot the two supreme commandments to love God and to love their neighbour. And, because they had created their own laws, they could not fully obey their own laws. If they could not follow a loving God's commands, how could they follow their own.
They had to become two people. A people who worshipped God with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. The religious leader's reaction to Jesus revealed themselves as not knowing the One they were to know above all others time and time and time again. Their insistance on pedantics had made following God unrealistic and impractical.
Our Father is not interested in our masks. He has no use for them. Our Father wants all of his children to be a people after His own heart. Our Father is truth. When God comes among us in full, the truth will be all that remains.
Father in Heaven, help me take this mask off. For once, let me look at you with my own eyes.