Saturday, October 16, 2010

EXTERNAL VS INTERNAL CLEANLINESS – OCTOBER 12TH TUESDAY (Lk 11: 37-41)


1. The Pharisee who invited Jesus was probably a person interested in Jesus. He wanted to talk personally with Jesus and so he invited him for a meal. Jesus went straight to the food and sat down to eat without washing His hands. This was nothing to do with the cleanliness but ceremonial purity. It was taught that a person’s hand whose had been in contact with the sinful world should wash his/her hands to prevent impurity from entering into his/her body. The Pharisee could not accept this action of Jesus.


2. The Seven Charges against the Religionists
Religionists are ceremonially clean, but inwardly unclean
They obey God in tithing, but ignore in practicing justice and love
They crave for prominence and honour
They mislead others to become unclean and corrupted
They burden people with rules and regulations
They honour the true prophets of God only after killing them
They have taken away the key to the truth about God

3. Religionists cleaned the outside and not the inside. They treated religion like a person who would be washing dishes. The person washed the outside of the cup and platter but left the inside dirty. The heart of the religionist was full of greed and wickedness but they show themselves as righteous people through their externals.

4. No one can establish his own righteousness. He cannot make himself clean enough to approach God; not by works, nor by religious ceremony and worship, nor by cleaning up the outside of his platter of life.

5. God made both the outside and the inside (the heart) of man. Jesus said the outside is not all that is unclean. The inside is also unclean and must be cleansed to become acceptable to God. Not that He calls religionists “foolish people” God made the whole man, heart as well as the body. Everyone has to give God a clean heart and a clean body, a spiritual heart as well as a religious body.

It appears as if the Pharisee is teaching some etiquette to Jesus. I am sure that Jesus would have washed his hands if they were really unclean. Jesus grabs the chance to teach the Pharisee not merely lessons on etiquette but lessons for life. When Jesus talks about internal cleanliness, he does not deny the importance of external cleanliness. Our externals do matter a lot. But care should be taken not to canonize the externals at the expense of internal attitude.

Courtesy
The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible

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