Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.Luke 11:39 NIV
In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were what we might identify as a fundamentalist denomination of Judaism. They were strict in their observance of the law and seemed to look down on anyone who was less devoted to following all the rules and regulations that had been built up around the law. Jesus interacted with them quite a bit during the three years of his ministry. And seldom was it positive.
On this occasion, he had been invited to eat in the home of a Pharisee. And, while he was there, he condemned much of their religious practice. And, I believe, this verse summarizes the negative comments he made about them. On the outside, they looked holy and righteous. They went well above and beyond in their observance of the law. They had every outward appearance of being people that God would be pleased with.
Clean the Inside
But they were something else altogether on the inside. Jesus accused the clean exterior of hiding a heart that was full of wickedness and greed. Their shiny exterior was not a good reflection of their heart. The Pharisees, as a whole, were more interested in what people thought of them than what God did. Much of what they did was for show. While inside they were acting for themselves.
That is a sad commentary on what appeared to be the most faithful people in Jesus’ time. And, unfortunately, it is true of all too many of us today as well. Outside we give the appearance of being “good Christians”. But inside we are no different than the people around us. We need to take to heart what Jesus told the Pharisees. To clean the inside, and then the outside will be clean as well. It is what is in our hearts that really matters to God. Not what people think of us.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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