The Men of Iron Minute

by Chad Zueck | Director of Content Creation


I love a good rivalry. My favorite rivalries are the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Two of the oldest baseball clubs battle all summer long for bragging rights and better standings; In sports, mixed martial arts, or in a good theological debate, I like the spirit of a good rivalry. I am locked in as a person or team jockeys for the upper hand! In the New Testament, there is a rivalry that is hard to believe. The Pharisees’ denseness is high, and their hypocrisy even more elevated. They stood as righteous pillars, but they were unrighteous hacks. They paraded around with clothes and adornments to be seen and heard, but their lives didn’t match their message. Their power and authority added to the death of Jesus and the covering of the believer’s sin. Jesus never backed down. With confidence in who He was and what He believed, Jesus stood as a rock against the cosmic forces of evil. Lately, I had been drawn to an exchange between these forces of evil and good. The Pharisees were proud of their lineage, but pride blinds and binds. Leaving a man shackled to his shame, pride fights for victory. But Jesus always gets the last word.

In Matthew 23, Jesus has a classic exchange with the Pharisees. In this chapter, Jesus calls them sons of Hell, whitewashed tombs, blind guides, fools, robbers, self-indulgent, full of hypocrisy and lawlessness, serpents, vipers, and persecutors and murders of God’s people. You can imagine how this conversation must have gone. Jesus condemns them with the sorrowful word of “Woe” seven times as He picks apart their lackluster lives and lifeless message. Sadly, they would be considered “model citizens” to most. Jesus saw their actions and didn’t get lost in their words; thus, their hypocritical judgment pitted them against Jesus.

In the rarified words of Maurice Blondel, “The one who talks, especially is he talks to God, can affect a great deal, but the one who acts means business and has more claim on our attention. If you want to know what a person believes, don’t listen to his words but watch what he does.” Jesus reinforced his words with actions, and the Pharisees supported their hypocrisy with lies and deception.


A man of integrity matches word and deed. In “Making the Cut,” we celebrated the victory we have in Christ while tearing down the towers of performance-based religion.


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