Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Matthew 23:27-28


27 ``Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 ``So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Any Jew of that time would have instantly understood Jesus' reference to the tombs. First, making their way to Jerusalem, they would have come across many tombs along their way. Remember, anyone who touched a dead body became unclean (Num 19:16), therefore anyone who came into contact with a tomb automatically became unclean. With so many tombs and such great crowds traveling to Jerusalem for the Feasts, they used to whitewash the tombs in order to alert the traveler of its presence.

Second, when walking outside the Temple, one could easily see the massive tombs on the hillside of the Mount of Olives. Both of these sites were very evident to the Jew of that time.

So, these tombs glistened white on the outside, but within they were full of bones and bodies whose touch would defile a man. This was the picture Jesus presented of the Pharisees. Spiritually glistening on the outside, yet spiritually dead on the inside! This continued the theme that Jesus was driving home, internal over the external.

God looks upon the heart; man is attracted to the outward appearance. So, let your life be a focus on the inside and the outside will take care of itself.