Home > Week 4 (Matthew 22-28) > Matthew 23

Matthew 23

Whitewashed tombsMatthew 23

Matthew 23 is some pretty heavy stuff. Jesus goes off on the teachers of the law and the Pharisees—the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Take a moment to read through this chapter again slowly. Be sure to take it all in.

 Jesus is fed up with their façade. They look holy and righteous on the outside, but inside, there is no relationship with God. They do it just to look good to the people. They are only going through the motions, performing rituals without thinking about the God behind the rituals.

In verse 27, Jesus compares them to whitewashed tombs. On the outside they look nice. They’re a clean, bright white color. But that does nothing to change what is on the inside of a tomb: death.

Jesus is more concerned with what is on the inside than what is on the outside (see Matthew 15). He is concerned with your heart and soul—who you are inside—rather than what you do.

You see, we can do good things (go to church, pray, read the Bible, give our money, not have sex before marriage, not cuss, etc.), but not be good on the inside. Our hearts may be full of envy, bitterness, or pride. But if we fill our hearts with Jesus, if we focus on being who he wants us to be, then we will naturally do good things.

What is in your heart? Is it full of death (jealousy, hate, arrogance)? Or is it clean? Take the time to look into your heart and ask God to clean it out.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I want to be clean on the inside. I don’t want to pretend that I am good. I want to be good. I want you to come inside and remove anything that isn’t clean: pride, selfishness, anger, jealousy, etc. Fill me with your Spirit of Holiness. Change me on the inside that I may be who you want me to be. Amen.

 

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51.10

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