“You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?” Luke 11:39–40
This encounter between the Pharisees and Jesus is powerful. He finds himself reclining at the table of a Pharisees. Via personal invitation, Jesus prepares to eat dinner with a local, no doubt to teach further about what was presented. Though there to eat, the teaching began long before the meal was served.
The Pharisee, like many, watched Jesus closely. He was measuring each action and word by the strict laws of the land, hoping to disqualify Jesus, and to dismiss His actions and purpose as not divine, and demonic in nature.
Not that I am Jesus, cause I am not, but I have found myself in this position many times. As a Youth Pastor, the teens were always measuring each action, word and deed, hoping to disqualify the message taught even before it went forth.
Is this you? Are you the Pharisee?
I wonder how many people are like this?
How many worshipers are like this?
How many people are watching to disqualify?
This watching is both good and bad.
It’s good in the sense that our actions and deeds should match the message that we preach. We should all know this and be keenly aware of this while interacting with people. This is a healthy action for most, that helps them to discern who they should trust and whom they can follow.
On the other hand, its bad. It’s bad when the person is looking and analyzing the smallest of details to disqualify a person. It’s bad when one uses one small action to over ride all the good and positive qualities and teachings of an individual. It’s not that we should make room and accept the sin in ones life, rather that it is foolish to dismiss all truth because of one mistake.
This present age has taken on the character of the prince of the air, in that it has been raised to be an accuser generation. As a Youth Pastor, I knew all of the teachings and moments spent with the teens could be tainted by one event (be it truth or a lie). This means we must do our best to live out before man the truths of God, and also must be diligent in protecting our reputation in the community. Though we can’t spend our days in defense, we must defend greatest by our commitment to righteousness. It’s this commitment what will testify for us, causing others to fight for us, and our reputation and lifestyle to testify against any attack.
Though the Pharisee had heard great things about Jesus, their concern was not to learn and confirm, but to disarm and disable the ministry that would pull people away from their structure that was making money and yielding them power. Jesus, after teaching and healing, reclines at the table and finds himself disqualified for not washing his hands before he ate. Because of this, it was thought that He was unsanitary and thus unclean. Thus Jesus, knowing what disturbed them replied,
“You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish,
but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.”
The Pharisee was measuring the righteousness of God in the way the measured their righteousness, and the righteousness of others. They were not concerned about their soul, but were concerned about their public persona. They left their homes each morning, and were meticulous about their outward presentation before other people. This was done not to please the Father, but more to give them a platform to judge and condemn others. They used this bit of obedience to elevate themselves above others, and not to elevate them in the sight of God.
People respected their commitment to God, and were impressed by their diligence to learn the law and master all of its tenets, but God was able to see the insides of the Pharisees. He could see their heart, and thought the outside was impressive, He saw their thoughts, and knew their motives. He knew they were not out to please the Father, but they were positioning themselves and leveraging their position to gain favor and wealth with Rome.
You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?
Jesus continues, by pointing to the Father. He says, the one that made the outside, made the inside also. In other words, these things stem from the same source. God is the maker and creator of all things. It is not the washing of your hands or the blessing over your meal that sanctifies, but it is your acknowledgement of God as the provider and protector that is required and measured by God.
Honestly, I have had food poison before, and been sick; and yes, I prayed over that meal, and thanked God for providing it. I have had my blood pressure spike after eating things that are high in sodium, and yep, I asked God to bless the meal, and asked it to nourish my body. Likewise, I have eaten without blessing my food, caught up in conversation, or just plain hungry, and have not bee poisoned by the food and gained strength and energy from consuming it. I have also eaten meals without washing my hands, and eaten some after a good scrubbing and even using alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer, and found that they were not enough to protect me from unsanitary cooks, kitchens, in-properly stored food and the like.
I’m sure you too have found the same. Jesus does not speak against us washing our hands, but lets us know that other factors are at work, and certain truths must be acknowledged. God is the creator of all things. It is how we handle things, and how we live that make them impure.
So how are you living? Are you washing the outside and leaving the inside dirty. The same piece of chicken properly prepared, must be properly stored or it will prove possibly fatal for the one that dines next. In this, we must be aware that more than a blessing or hand-washing is needed to be considered clean before the Lord.