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Cleaning the Inside of the Cup

Matthew 23:25,26 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. (NRSV)

No one likes a hypocrite – you don’t, and I certainly don’t. And yet there’s a temptation for each of us, each and every day, to pretend one thing on the outside but think and feel and be something entirely different on the inside.

Imagine that you go a coffee shop. You just feel like a really good cup of coffee so you sit down, you order your coffee, you grab a magazine and eventually out the coffee comes. Fantastic!

It smells great, it looks good … but just as you’re about to take your first sip, you watch a waiter pick up an empty cup from the next table, and without washing it, take it back to the coffee machine, fill it with a cappuccino and serve it to another customer.

Now just think about that … what does that tell you about the coffee that they just put down in front of you? Everything looks great on the outside … but they don’t wash the inside of their cups. So are you going to drink this cup of coffee they just served up to you, or not?

Sadly, a whole bunch of the people in this world are a bit like that –  clean on the outside, but filthy on the inside. And that disconnect between what you see on the outside and what’s going on on the inside is what we call … hypocrisy. Here’s how Jesus put it:

Matthew 23:25,26 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. (NRSV)

You see, for Jesus, what’s happening on our inside is so much more important than what people can see on the outside.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.