What Jesus Did! 'What Sorrow Awaits! (5)' — Matthew 23:25-26

Monday, November 1, 2021

[Jesus continued his condemnation:] "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy — full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too."
— Matthew 23:25-26 NLT

Key Thought

The problem with external, Jesus reminds us, is not the attention on the outside cleanness. He does not criticize the outside cleanness. Instead, he is furious with the Pharisees' preoccupation with the outside cleanness while ignoring the interior world of the heart, motives, intentions, and desires. As he did in the Sermon on the Mount in specific detail (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 6:1-8, 16-18, 7:12), Jesus once again reminds us that no amount of preoccupation with external cleanness will make the interior world clean. Greed (an excessive desire for things, including things gotten by cheating others) and self-indulgence (pleasing only oneself) are the seeds of all sorts of unclean thoughts, motives, and actions. The outside cannot be made truly clean unless we address those internal issues.

Today's Prayer

Almighty, holy, and awesome Father, please purify my heart, my desires, my motives by the cleansing power of your Holy Spirit. I want to reflect your character in both my interior and exterior worlds. May the words of my mouth, the thoughts of my mind, the motives of my heart, and the actions of my hands be pleasing to you. In the name of the Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 7:16-20
  • Matthew 12:33-37
  • Matthew 15:7-9


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Illustration of Matthew 23:25-26 NLT — "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.