Looking Back Over Jesus’ Life
My faith has been formed by the words of Jesus. Many times, I listen to Him speak, and try to follow the example He lifts up. However, in Matthew chapter 23, as Jesus criticizes the actions of the self-righteous scribes and Pharisees, I cringe at His description of these supposedly religious people, and hope not to follow their example.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
Outward appearances can be deceptive. Although we were taught to practice good hygiene, and we know that proper grooming is important, what is truly important is what is on the inside. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” “Beauty is only skin deep.”
Jesus was not impressed by the fake facade of the scribes and Pharisees. They made people think that they were squeaky clean, but Jesus knew that they were filled with greed and self-indulgence.
He who could see what was on the inside wanted us to be genuinely good from the inside out.
God, cleanse my heart and soul so that what comes from the spring of Your Spirit will wash over me and make my outward actions truly good and kind and helpful. Amen.