Jesus continues his scathing of the Pharisees and teachers of the law by saying,
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (25-28)
Scathing indeed. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were held up as so righteous by the people. But Jesus exposes every filthy thing in their hearts, their greed, their self-indulgence, and their utter hypocrisy. He called them whitewashed tombs which look so beautiful on the outside, but are filled with rotting bones on the inside.
How about you? What would Jesus say about you if he saw you? Would he call you a whitewashed tomb? A cup that is clean on the outside and filthy on the inside?
It is so easy to put up a front. In fact the word “hypocrite” originally came from the word for “actor.” But God looks beyond your exterior to your heart. And when he does, what does he see?
For that matter, what do you see? Can you even see the areas in your heart that are ugly in the sight of God? Or are you so blind that while you can see everyone else’s sin, you can’t even see your own?
I suppose the real test is this: Do you feel compassion for those “sinners” around you because you know just how much mercy you yourself have received from God, and continue to receive day by day? Or do you just feel utter contempt for them, thinking, “I would never do something like that!”
What is in your heart? What needs to be cleaned out from your cup?