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Materialism and Idolatry

This all came about because Jesus did not wash his hands before he ate. Seriously. This was a huge Jewish ritual from the old covenant. Jesus was focused on the new covenant and the Kingdom of God that he was ushering in. Jesus was already moving on.

While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. The religious elite [Pharisee] was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Master [Lord] said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. [1]

Source: Luke 11:37-41

Jesus knows our hearts. Jesus knows what motivates us. Jesus came to get us right with God, His Father. Jesus does this by speaking the truth to us. One day, Jesus called Peter, Satan. When I follow Jesus, I do not get a break. I get challenged.

I read this and I think, this does not apply to me. I know all I am worried about is the house clean before the guests arrive.

  • What about my heart and the anger I have for my mother-in-law? Is that all good?
  • Really? Is my focus on what is inside of me or what others think?
  • I know the answer to that too many days. I need to focus on my heart and what I think.

Jesus knows how to challenge me. It is all about my heart.

AND … it is about generosity to the poor. Jesus did not throw that in for fun. Jesus means it.

The basic error of the Pharisees was thinking that righteousness was only a matter of external actions, and they minimized internal attitudes. They were incredibly careful to keep the outside clean, but they ignored the wickedness within. They seemed to forget that the same God who created the outside also created the inside, the “inner person” that also needs cleansing.

The Pharisees boasted of their giving, but they did not give what was within to the Master Jesus. The way to make the outside pure is to make the inside pure. Kenneth Wuest translates this verse, “Rather, the things which are inside give as alms, and behold, all things are clean to you” (wuest). The way to clean up a dirty vocabulary is not to brush your teeth but to cleanse your heart.[2]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Lk 11:37–41). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 217). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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