All for show....
Mat 23:25-28 NKJV - 25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 "Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 "Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Matthew chapter 23 begins with the last public sermon of Jesus just days before He went to the cross. He told His disciples that when they went to Jerusalem He would be put to death, so He clearly knew the end was near. It's interesting to me that after a three year ministry that was filled with love, grace, mercy, healing, and forgiveness, this final address , is one of judgement. Speaking to the multitudes and His disciples (notice the distinguishment the scripture makes in verse one. A disciple is a follower of Jesus, while the multitudes are made up of the curious, the spectator, the fans and the foes, but they are not followers. So why this message of judgement? First, as a warning. To tell His disciples, and the multitudes, when it comes to the pharisees to do as they say, not as they do. To no longer be deceived by these hypocrites.
Jesus also delivered this message to warn the religious leaders that they were just blowing it and to give them opportunity to repent. The opening scriptures to this reflection describe them as putting on a show. Presenting themselves as something they were not. Inside they were filthy, rotten, but their outward appearance was all about convincing others how righteous they were. It's so easy for us to look at them and condemn.
What about us? Do we lack authenticity? Do we walk the walk, or are our lives really all talk? If people could see your heart would they be surprised? Would it lead them closer to Jesus, or would it lead to your shame? Are you a disciple or do you stand with the multitudes? Following Jesus means our inside matches our outside. Evangelize with and without words. Let the way you live your life be the evidence of a changed heart. Be a true disciple!
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