You, … Hypocrites”
Mary anoints Jesus' feet.
Jesus makes a triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Jesus gives the parable of the two sons and the parable of the householder.
The scribes and Pharisees try to trap Jesus.
Jesus condemns the sin of hypocrisy.
A study of this lesson will help us recognize and avoid hypocrisy and thus
strengthen our commitment to Jesus Christ.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 20 Handout (PDF
Mary Anoints Jesus' Feet
"Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha
served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him."
Bruce R. McConkie: "Jesus chose to spend a quiet Sabbath, his last on
earth, in his beloved Bethany. There in the home of Simon the leper, enjoying
sociality with Mary and Martha and Lazarus and those of his intimate circle,
he will receive the holy anointing preparatory to his kingly burial; there
he will take into his lungs the last peaceful breaths of Judean air before
the tumultuous hours and days of his passion. It is Friday...and Jesus
and his select friends are just arriving from Jericho." (Mortal Messiah,
JOHN 12:3-8. Jesus
anointed by Mary.
Also, see Matthew 26:6-7 &
James E. Talmage: "To anoint the head of a guest with ordinary oil was
to do him honor; to anoint his feet also was to show unusual and signal
regard; but the anointing of head and feet with spikenard, and in such
abundance, was an act of reverential homage rarely rendered even to kings.
Mary's act was an expression of adoration: it was the fragrant outwelling
of a heart overflowing with worship and affection." (Jesus The Christ,
Mary anointed the Lord to show her love for him. According to Talmage it
was an act of "worship and affection," an act rarely afforded kings. Certainly
such a thing was never done to a common man.
HOW CAN WE FOLLOW MARY'S EXAMPLE AND SHOW OUR LOVE FOR THE LORD?
We cannot do what Mary did, but we can mold our hearts to become like hers.
The Master taught us, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John
14:15). We honor the Lord by our actions. We show our "worship
and affection" by seeking to follow the path which he laid out for us.
HOW DID JUDAS RESPOND TO THIS ACT?
"Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to
the poor?" (v5).
WHY DID JUDAS RESPOND THIS WAY?
He was a hypocrite.
Bruce R. McConkie quoted the Biblical scholar F.W. Farrar: "The sight
of Mary's lavish sacrifice, the consciousness that it was now too late
to save that large sum for the bag -- the mere possession of which, apart
from the sums which he could pilfer out of it, gratified his greed for
gold -- filled him with disgust and madness. He had a devil. He felt as
if he had been personally cheated: as if the money were by right his and
he had been, in a senseless manner, defrauded of it." (Mortal Messiah,
A Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem
MATTHEW 21:1-11. The Lord's triumphal entry into
This entry into Jerusalem commences the last week of our Lord's earthly
ministry. This is a Sunday, the day after the Jewish Sabbath. He has left
Bethany headed for Jerusalem, gathering crowds as he approaches Jerusalem.
"Many people came to see him because they heard that he had raised Lazarus
from the dead. As Jesus approached the city, he was greeted by a great multitude
of people who spread their garments in his path and hailed him with palm
branches, an honor usually reserved for kings and conquerors." (Teacher's
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter
of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having
salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an
ass." (Zechariah 9:9)
The triumphal entry fulfilled this ancient prophecy.
Many hailed Jesus as a prophet and king by their actions on this day.
Others misunderstood his mission or rejected him. "And when the chief
priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children
crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were
sore displeased" (Matthew 21:14).
IN WHAT WAYS DO PEOPLE MISUNDERSTAND OR REJECT THE SAVIOR TODAY?
HOW CAN WE MORE FULLY ACCEPT AND WELCOME HIM INTO OUR LIVES?
"And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it"
(Luke 19:41). Jesus went on to prophecy that Jerusalem would soon be destroyed
The fate of Jerusalem as described by Farrar: "Titus [of Rome] had not
originally wished to encompass the city, but he was forced, by the despair
and obstinacy of the Jews, to surround it, first with a palisaded mound,
and then, when this vallum and agger were destroyed, with a wall of masonry.
He did not wish to sacrifice the Temple--nay, he made every possible effort
to save it--but he was forced to leave it in ashes. He did not intend to
be cruel to the inhabitants, but the deadly fanaticism of their opposition
so extinguished all desire to spare them, that he undertook the task of
well-nigh exterminating the race--of crucifying them by the hundreds, of
exposing them in the amphitheatre by thousands, of selling them into slavery
by myriads." (quoted in Mortal Messiah, 3:341-342)
The fate of Jerusalem was sealed because most of its inhabitants rejected
the Lord. We need to have a "triumphal entry" of the Lord into our lives
and into our hearts.
After entering the Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple and cleansed it
for a second time.
This incident occurred on Monday morning of this last week.
WHY DO YOU THINK JESUS CURSED THE FRUITLESS FIG TREE?
F.W. Farrar: "And therefore, since it was but deceptive
and useless, a barren cumberer of the ground, He made it the eternal warning
against a life of hypocrisy continued until it is too late." (quoted in Mortal
James E. Talmage: "The leafy, fruitless tree was a symbol of Judaism,
which loudly proclaimed itself as the only true religion of the age, and
condescendingly invited all the world to come and partake of its rich ripe
fruit; when in truth it was but an unnatural growth of leaves, with no
fruit of the season, nor even an edible bulb held over from earlier years,
for such as it had was dried to worthlessness and made repulsive in its
worm-eaten decay." (Jesus The Christ, p527)
Parables To The Jews
Parable of the Two Sons
WHAT DOES EACH SON SYMBOLIZE? (see The Mortal Messiah, 3:358-359)
1st son = Wicked, rebellious, ungodly, unclean, no interest in spiritual
things. He refuses the call. Religion is not for him. He symbolizes the
harlots and publicans.
2nd son = Wearing a veneer of spirituality; fasting two days in each week;
making broad his phylacteries and lengthening the fringes on his garments;
praying on the street corners to be seen of men; keeping the traditions of the
fathers scrupulously, beyond sense and reason. He symbolizes
the chief priests, scribes, and elders.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS PARABLE? WHO WAS THE HYPOCRITE?
DO SOME OF US OCCASIONALLY RESPOND LIKE THE SECOND SON? HOW?
Do we agree to do visiting teaching or home teaching and not do it?
Do we promise to attend the temple and then do other activities?
Do we promise our children more time and then get caught up in what we
think are more pressing matters?
HOW CAN WE STRENGTHEN OUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD?
John H. Vandenberg: "Recently, the wife of a very dear friend of mine
passed away in Denver, Colorado. She was one of the most devoted Latter-day
Saints with whom I have ever been privileged to associate. There is no
question in my mind that her loyalty to our Father in heaven germinated
early in her youth as she committed herself to short- and long-range goals
After sharing some of this sister's thoughts
and goals in life, Elder Vandenberg continued: "I feel that goal-setting
is absolutely necessary for happy living. But the goal is only part of
the desired procedures. We need to know which roads to take to reach the
goal. In many cases we set far-reaching goals but neglect the short-range
ones. With such short-range plans, we need self-discipline in our actions
-- study when it is time to study, sleep when it is time to sleep, read
when it is time to read, and so on -- not permitting an undesirable overlap,
but getting our full measure of rewards and blessings from the time we
invest in a particular activity. In this respect, I feel that Aaronic Priesthood
bearers especially need to learn more fully their responsibility for leadership.
They need to commit themselves more to obeying the proven principles of
the gospel. They need to commit themselves verbally to their friends and
families, telling them of their desire to live righteously, so that their
friends and families can help and encourage them and observe their progress.
They need to make commitments with themselves by writing down their goals
and keeping a record of the fulfillment of their achievements." (CR,
Apr 1966, pp93-94)
Parable of the Householder
WHO ARE THE HOUSEHOLDER, THE HUSBANDMEN, THE SERVANTS, AND THE SON?
Householder = Heavenly Father..
Husbandmen = The wicked leaders of Israel.
Servants = The prophets.
The son = The Son of God.
HOW WERE THE JEWISH RELIGIOUS LEADERS LIKE THE HUSBANDMEN?
"they sought to lay hands on him" (v46).
WHY DO YOU THINK THE LORD GAVE THIS PARABLE TO THE PHARISEES?
WHY DO YOU THINK THEY DID NOT HEED THIS WARNING?
HOW MIGHT THIS PARABLE APPLY TO YOU?
Do we honor the servants of God?
Do we heed their messages? (family night, temple attendance, food storage,
scripture reading, etc.)
HOW DID THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND PHARISEES RESPOND WHEN THEY REALIZED THAT
JESUS WAS SPEAKING ABOUT THEM IN THESE PARABLES?
- HOW CAN WE OVERCOME ANY PRIDE OR INDIGNATION WE MAY FEEL WHEN WE ARE CALLED
- In my work, I have enjoyed the opportunity of spending time in management-employee
relations. It is fascinating to me to find how defensive both management
and employees can become when it is pointed out that there needs to be
a change. It seems to be a natural thing with us in this mortal state.
So how do we overcome it?
We need to determine and evaluate our ultimate
goal. If it is eternal life, we need to lift our eyes to that goal and eliminate
anything that stands in the path. If we have pride when we have made a mistake,
we must raise our vision and look to our ultimate goal. We must humble ourselves
in prayer. If necessary, we need to confess our sin to the appropriate persons.
We must seek a plan for change. We must overcome the natural man tendency
towards justification and defensiveness.
Scribes & Pharisees Try To Trap Jesus
MATTHEW 22:15-22. Is it lawful to give tribute
WHAT TRAP HAVE THESE MEN HAVE ATTEMPTED TO SET?
If Jesus answers in favor of Rome, he may well antagonize the Jewish people
who wish to overthrow Roman rule.
If Jesus answers against Rome, he then could be reported to the Roman authorities
as one who is openly teaching against obedience to Roman law.
HOW CAN THIS ANSWER GUIDE US IN RENDERING ALLEGIANCE TO GOD AND TO OUR
WHAT IF A COUNTRY IS RULED BY A WICKED REGIME?
WHAT DO WE OWE THE COUNTRY IN WHICH WE LIVE?
Howard W. Hunter: "What do we owe to Caesar? To the country in which
we live? We owe allegiance, respect, and honor. Laws enacted to promote
the welfare of the whole and suppress evil doing are to be strictly obeyed.
We must pay tribute to sustain the government in the necessary expense
incurred in the protection of life, liberty, property and in promoting
the welfare of all persons." (CR, Apr 1968)
MATTHEW 22:23-28. Marriage in the resurrection.
HOW WERE THE SADDUCEES HYPOCRITICAL IN THEIR QUESTION?
They didn't believe in the resurrection. They were attempting to trap Jesus.
WHY WAS THIS QUESTION ANOTHER TRAP?
The Jews had spent years examining the Law and had listed a total of 613
commandments. There had been great debates among the Jewish rabbis, scribes,
and others regarding which of the commandments was the greatest. If Jesus
chose any of the 613 separate codes of law he would probably alienate
a large portion of the Jewish leaders who did not agree.
The Lord's response: He swept aside all the debate and cut through the
minutia to the foundation and reason for all commandments. He spoke the
DO WE EVER GET SO CAUGHT UP IN THE COMMANDMENTS THAT WE SOMETIMES FORGET
THEIR REASON FOR BEING?
Howard W. Hunter: "He loves the Lord with all his heart who...is ready
to give up, do, or suffer anything in order to please and glorify him.
He loves God with all his soul...who is ready to give up life for his sake
and to be deprived of the comforts of the world to glorify him. He loves
God with all his strength who exerts all the powers of his body and soul
in the service of God. He loves God with all his mind who applies himself
only to know God and his will, who sees God in all things and acknowledges
him in all ways." (CR, Apr 1965, p58)
The response of only one scribe:
"And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast
said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and
with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength,
and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings
and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly,
he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man
after that durst ask him any question." (Mark 12:32-34)
The Sin Of Hypocrisy - Matthew 23
Jesus identifies and condemns the hypocrisy and wickedness of the scribes
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees
sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you
observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they
say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous
to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will
not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be
seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders
of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts,
and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be
called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi." (v1-7)
WHAT IS THE ATTITUDE OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES?
WHAT DID THE LORD TEACH?
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And
whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble
himself shall be exalted." (v11-12)
The eight woes against the Scribes & Pharisees.
The woe for rejecting Christ and salvation (v13).
By preaching against Christ they are shutting the door of salvation for
themselves and their followers.
The woe against avarice and hypocrisy (v14).
Under cover of religious duty, they extorted enormous sums from the ever-present
widows and orphans, salving their consciences with pretentious prayers.
The woe for converting souls to a false church (v15).
It is said of Jewish proselytizing of that day: "Out of a bad heathen they
made a worse Jew."
The woe against moral blindness shown in the breaking of oaths (v16-22).
Bruce R. McConkie: "But these Jews--in their apostate debauchery--had
so perverted the true order of vows and oaths that they had become a sword
of evil instead of a shield of good. Technical, trifling rules by which
oaths could be annulled and avoided came forth from the Great Sanhedrin.
An indulgence here, some special privilege there, as the Rabbinists taught,
enabled men to ignore their solemn vows made in Jehovah's name." (Mortal
The woe against supplanting eternal principles with religious trifles (v23-24).
A mark of personal or universal apostasy. Example: Abstain from the use
of tea, coffee, and tobacco, but indulge in lustful acts or forsake standards
of business integrity.
The woe against hiding wickedness under a religious cloak (v25-26).
The woe against a false outward appearance of righteousness (v27-28).
James E. Talmage: "But even as no amount of care or degree of diligence
in keeping bright the outside of a tomb could stay the putrescence going
on within, so no externals of pretended righteousness could mitigate the
revolving corruption of a heart reeking with iniquity." (Jesus the
The woe against rejecting the living prophets (v29-32).
MATTHEW 23:33-36. The condemnation.
HOW MIGHT WE AS CHURCH MEMBERS SOMETIMES BE HYPOCRITES?
WHAT CAN WE DO TO AVOID HYPOCRISY?
We need to ask ourselves this question, "In all my actions, do I seek to
draw closer to my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ?"
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
What is our eternal goal? Are we truly seeking to gain eternal life,
to enjoy the blessings of an eternal family, and desire to live with Heavenly
Father? Or are we simply trying to impress others with the amount we pay
in tithing or the position we hold. Being mortal, we sometimes tend towards
hypocrisy. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, we need to check ourselves
in this and repent. If we have a sincere desire to serve and obey Jesus
Christ, motivated by love for and faith in him, we will come closer to
him and increase our love and faith.
Record your thoughts on the teachings of the Master as discussed in this
lesson. What principles can you apply to your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Reports (CR).
Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume
3, by Bruce R. McConkie.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
06 April 2015