Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Ye make clean the outside of the cup, but within they are full of extortion and excess
Jesus’s condemnation of trying to only clean the exterior rings all too true for me. I would vigorously endeavor to put on a shining appearance, while holding to vice and doubt within. I wanted people to think that I was a Godly person, while privately keeping Him at arms length.
Cleanse first that which is within the cup, that the outside of them may be clean also
This first hypocrisy I was aware of, even at the time, yet there was another fault in my discipleship that I did not recognize until performing this very study. I have also polished my exterior in terms of trying to “make myself useful” to God. I, and others like me, put a lot of effort into trying to be intelligent, well-spoken, and persuasive, hoping that this will allow us to champion God’s cause in a bold and eloquent manner.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong in trying to be a more convincing person, but I have seen in myself how it can become a distraction. I can be so concerned with being able to say things well, that I forget to gain a personal testimony of the things I am even trying to say! This is once again cleaning the outer vessel only.
The best preparation for communicating the gospel is by living it earnestly and whole-heartedly, without worrying about what the external appearance will be. As Jesus promises, those that first clean themselves within will find that the outside takes care of itself. I have seen how those that simply try to purify their hearts end up also becoming more intelligent, kind, and sincere without even trying.