"It will be bad for you teachers of the law and Pharisees. You are hypocrites. You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of things that you got by cheating other people and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup can be truly clean."
— Matthew 23:25-26 NLT
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 on the outside cleanness while ignoring the interior world of the heart, motives, intentions, and unrestrained desires. As he did in the Sermon on the Mount in specific detail, Jesus once again reminds us that no amount of external preoccupation with cleanness will make the interior world clean. Greed (things you got by cheating others) and self-indulgence (pleasing only yourselves) are the seeds of all sorts of unclean thoughts, motives, and actions. The outside cannot be made clean unless we address those issues.
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
- Matt. 7:16-20
- Matt. 12:33-37
- Matt. 15:7-9
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.
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.