2021_08_16 Insight Post- Kim Feld
This week's reading- Luke 10-11
In Luke chapter 11, after Jesus finishes teaching a large crowd, He is invited to eat with a Pharisee. Jesus accepts and enters the Pharisee’s home and reclines at the table without going through the ceremonial handwashing that was customary. Handwashing wasn’t about cleanliness as we think of it today; it was a ritual for the priests (not necessarily the average person) to wash away contamination that would make them “unclean.” Jesus, knowing that the Pharisee is surprised, uses this as an opportunity to speak frankly about how the religious leaders have misrepresented God and His heart for the people (see Luke 11:27-54).
Over and over in the biographies of Jesus, we read Jesus’ insistence that we look inside ourselves. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were all about their outward appearance, which Jesus refers to as the “outside of the cup.” Jesus taught that what’s on the inside will influence what’s on the outside, not the other way around. When those who proclaim to be Christ-followers have an outside appearance that does not match what’s in their heart, trouble is inevitable. When we get into chapter 12 next week, we will read Jesus’ warning against hypocrisy. Jesus says that what is hidden will eventually be exposed. You only need to read or listen to the news to see that played out every single day. When that happens within the Church, the results can have eternal consequences.
So, what are the application points for you and me? First, take a look at your life. Does your outward appearance match what’s going on within your heart? Do you look and act the same on Sundays at church as you do at home? What would your family say about you and your actions? What about your co-workers? If we are to be Jesus people, we must look and act like Jesus, and that’s a tall order for all of us. This passage from Luke chapter 11 gives us a few markers to look at:
41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
Generosity, justice, and love – three things that Jesus points out as absent from the lives of the religious leaders. Very similar to what the prophet Micah told the people that God required of them in Micah 6:8: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. We are to be generous with our time and resources, do and stand up for what’s right as God defines it, love God and love each other deeply, and walk with God in a posture of humility, recognizing that all we have and are comes from His hand. Who you are, deep inside, is what God is looking at; not all you do. So, don’t neglect the inside.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach