Continuing with Part 4 of our series based on Pastor Jim Cymbala’s message, "A Full Portrait of Christ," which he delivered to the congregation of The Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York…
So there’s a weeping Jesus, and there’s an angry Jesus. Did you know that there’s also a quiet, discerning Jesus? He sees through every kind of fake exterior and cover-up that we human beings can use. Just a few chapters later we read the following: "In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.’" (Luke 22:20-22) As Jesus was sharing the Last Supper with his disciples, do you know whose hand was on the table with his? It was that of Judas, who was leading a double life at the time. While pretending to be a follower of Jesus, he was stealing from the money bag. Further, Judas had just made a deal with the high priest to turn Jesus over to him for thirty pieces of silver.
Notice that Jesus is not angry here. You see, he is not one-dimensional. There are many facets to his character and personality. In essence, he very calmly said, "I see through you. Though I’m not naming you, I know who you are." In other words, Jesus knows who the hypocrites are.
In the Greek language, the word "hypocrite" means an actor who puts on a mask, so that you don’t really know what he or she is like. Nevertheless, Jesus sees through all our pretense and acting. And we live in a society where there is so much acting. Celebrities have a public image to uphold. It is not who they really are, but who they want you to think they are. What they really are, only God knows. Jesus sees not only through the veneer of these public figures, but through all of us. He knows who comes to church but lives differently outside of church. I am not talking about moral perfection here, because nobody’s perfect. But there is a discerning Jesus – one who knew at the Last Supper, and knows today, who is real and who is not real. He sees through fake ministers; fake choir directors and choir members; and fake deacons. He knows who is living an immoral life and putting on a good face just like Judas. So, you will never have to worry about sorting out who the hypocrites are, because Jesus will sort that all out in the last day. "Many will say… on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then [Jesus] will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" (Matthew 7:22,23)
If you don’t have that picture of Jesus, you will have a poor sketch of our Lord. It may perhaps fit your lifestyle, but it is not the true Jesus.
To obtain an audio tape of the full message that is excerpted in this issue or to get an archival listing of Pastor Cymbala’s sermon tapes, please call The Brooklyn Tabernacle at 718-290-2238. (This is not an advertisement.)