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Apr 4 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Seventy-two – Matthew 23:13-33

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
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. You blind Pharisee, first, clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean. Matthew 23:25-26

The role of the media in our culture has resulted in a blurring of image and identity, of surface and substance. Public personalities who have created scandals do not try to live with greater integrity, they work on improving their image. How much can we learn about a product in fifteen seconds or analyze a political debate in one hour of television time? We know only the surface of things and that is all we want to know. It is also all we want to know about ourselves.

Jesus raised a bold and courageous protest against superficiality–notice the number of times he used the word hypocrites in this chapter! “Go to work on the inside,” he told his audience, “and the outside will take care of itself.”

Jesus had not given up on the Pharisees, but made an appeal to them to wake up to what they had missed, yet was so obvious. At least four times in this speech Jesus accused the Pharisees of being blind (vv. 16, 17, 19, 26). Their blindness was a typical trait of human nature: We cannot learn what we think we already know–our prejudice gets in the way. Unfortunately, what they had not seen would cost them everything (vv. 32-33).

O Lord, may You ever find us open to seeing new things and learning new ideas. May we be teachable. We are wrong about many things, but we cannot see how we are wrong. Patiently show us, enlighten us, and disciple us into Your truth. May we always remember that what God sees is different from what humans see, because we look only on the appearance whereas God looks into the heart. Lord, Jesus, make our hearts beautiful for Him.

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