Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Matthew 23:25-26


25 ``Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 ``You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

The idea of uncleanness is continually arising in the Jewish Law. It must be remembered that this uncleanness was not physical uncleanness. An unclean vessel was not in our sense of the term a dirty vessel. For a person to be ceremonially unclean meant that he could not enter the Temple or the synagogue; he was barred from worshipping God.

Some of the laws concerning uncleanness: 1. A man was unclean if he touched a dead body or came into contact with a Gentile.

2. A woman was unclean if she had a hemorrhage, even if that hemorrhage was perfectly normal and healthy.

3. If a person who was himself unclean touched any vessel, that vessel became unclean; and, thereafter, any other person who touched or handled the vessel became in turn unclean. Therefore is was very important to have vessels cleansed; and the Pharisaical laws for cleansing them is amazingly complex.

For instance, an earthen vessel which is hollow becomes unclean only on the inside and not on the outside; and it can be cleansed only by being broken. A flat plate without a rim, an open coal-shovel, a grid-iron with holes in it for parching grains of wheat cannot be clean at all. On the other hand, a plate with a rim, or an earthen spice-box, or a writing-case can become unclean. Of vessels made of leather, bone, wood and glass, flat ones do not become unclean; deep ones do. If they are broken, they become clean. Any metal vessel which is at once smooth and hollow can become unclean; but a door, a bolt, a lock, a hinge, a knocker cannot become unclean. If a thing is made of wood and metal, then the wood can become unclean, but the metal cannot. These regulations seem to us fantastic, and yet these are the regulations the Pharisees meticulously kept. The food or drink inside a vessel might have been obtained by cheating or extortion or theft; it might be luxurious and gluttonous; that did not matter, so long as the vessel itself was ceremonially clean. This is another example of fussing about trifles and letting the weightier matters go. This can still happen today. Some believe it's unclean to have rock-like music in the church service, some want only hymns, some hold to a certain translation of the Bible, others want those who are up front to be dressed a certain way-no flops or sandals, no jeans, some want choirs to wear robes. A local fellowship can find themselves in an uproar when disagreement occurs over the colors in the carpet or walls, or the architecture of a building or the atmosphere within that building.

Can you say, "IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER!"