August 31

TODAY IS…

an excellent day to make sure the inside of the cup is clean.

“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.”  Matthew 23:26 NASB

Jesus was a kind, compassionate, loving, humble, generous, healing person who was slow to anger, but He did get angry at times. One of the things that produced the most anger in Him was hypocrisy, which is to pretend to have beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not really have. Hypocrisy was particularly offensive to Christ in Jerusalem. When He was confronted and challenged by the religious leaders there, He cautioned His disciples and the crowds of people who listened to Him, “So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” (Matthew 23:3 NIV). How it must have pained our Lord, Jesus Christ, to say those words: But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” (Emphasis mine)

This is a powerful message, and a powerful lesson to us all. How often do we see leaders in our communities, our state and federal government, who insist that we all behave one way, but violate the very laws they are sworn to uphold? How often do we see our own religious leaders caught up in behavior that is the exact opposite of the way they teach us we are supposed to behave? We become rightfully indignant when those we are supposed to emulate turn out to be hypocrites. How dare they violate our trust?

But wait a minute. What about ourselves? Do we ever present ourselves as being clean on the outside when we are decidedly less than clean on the inside? We all need to hear Jesus’ warning to those He was speaking about in Jerusalem when He said, “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!” (Matthew 23:25 NLT).

Granted, there were times when our Lord spoke in parables as He taught His disciples and others. There were also other times when He was crystal clear, and this was certainly one of them and even though those words were spoken so very long ago, we would all do well to heed them. For many of us fall far short of having “cups” that are as sparkling clean on the inside as they are on the outside.

We would serve ourselves, our friends, and our families well if we would heed the words of Jesus Christ and start doing our cleaning from the inside!

*******

Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

About Tony Casson

" For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
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