In the thinking of most people, being a hypocrite probably means something along the lines of saying one thing but doing another. In Luke 12, we learn that Jesus challenged people about a much more deadly type of hypocrisy that is widely overlooked.
Jesus Instructs His Disciples and the People about Hypocrisy
Speaking to a vast multitude of people (Luke 12:1), Jesus warned His disciples about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (12:1-13). On that same occasion, he challenged the people about hypocrisy by pointing out a glaring discrepancy in their lives:
Luk 12:54 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
55 And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
Jesus sternly chided these people because they capably assessed some indicators of their time but did not do so with others that were equally obvious. John A. Martin explains their hypocritical failure:
Jesus taught the crowds that they needed to be sensitive to interpret the things they were seeing. Though they had been observing His ministry they were not able to ascertain that He was truly the Messiah. He made the point that they, with no trouble, could interpret natural signs (western clouds and south winds—the appearance of the earth and the sky). But they could not discern spiritual signs. They should discern what was going on right in their midst—He was offering the kingdom and they were not responding properly to His offer.—BKC: NT, 239; emphasis in original
Jesus thus reproached people for being hypocrites by their rightly discerning specific weather indicators but not doing so with spiritual ones.
Darrell L. Bock summarizes Jesus’ forceful challenge:
Jesus then turns to the crowd. He rebukes them for not spotting the obvious. They can read the weather, but they are blind to what God is doing. Jesus clearly reveals the nature of the time; yet they do not respond. —Luke 9:51-24:53, 1200
Based on Jesus teaching here, Norval Geldenhuys gives this sobering warning:
To-day also there are for us all many signs pointing to the seriousness of life and to the necessity of right living. Especially those who have the opportunity of reading the Bible and listening to the preaching of the Gospel have the fullest opportunities of discerning the signs of the times and of knowing that Jesus is the Redeemer. He who is blind to this and who does not take heed, while the period of grace continues, to have peace with God through the Saviour, must await a dark future.—Luke, NICOT, 369.
These commentators reveal that Jesus challenges us all to be sensitive to judge rightly the valid spiritual information that we have been exposed to in our lives. Failing to do so, we will be guilty of a deadly hypocrisy that is much more serious than what people often complain about concerning the so-called hypocrisy of religious people.
Please take a few moments and read the good news that God has for all people and believe: The Good News for All