Luke 11:37-44 – “And as He spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So, He went in and sat down to eat. 38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. 40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.” NKJV
Yes, Jesus does choose sides! I love this story which depicts how our LORD views pomp, ceremony, and outward show. It reveals how Jesus views our man-made traditions that are not consistent with the Heart and Spirit of His Word. The Pharisee, not unlike many even in our modern times, was all about appearance. His focus was dotting all the ceremonial I’s and crossing the T’s religiously and doctrinally. He was far more interested in the visible than the invisible, the outward rather than the heart.
When Jesus accepted his invitation to break bread with him, he was shocked that Jesus did not participate in the ceremonial washing before eating. Jesus used this as an opportunity to teach spiritual truth regarding the difference between the external (visible or ceremonial) and the internal (heart). He addressed the fact that putting on a show, giving the appearance of righteousness, spiritual correctness, and piety, while the inside was full of wickedness and sin, was Wrong. Jesus did not call him a hypocrite but addressed the incorrectness of his views and actions.
Jesus continued in addressing the religious correctness and outward show of tithing on Everything but failing with regard to justice, doing the right thing out of love for God. He did not say he was wrong for doing the things he did with regard to giving saying, “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” He addressed the public show and took the most visible position and then called him a hypocrite!
Which side does Jesus choose? The Inside! He chooses the inside (heart) rather than the outside and if we remember in 1 Samuel 16:7, the LORD spoke to Samuel saying, “Do not look at his appearance, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Oh, how guilty we are! We are often impressed with the visible rather than the heart. We are impressed with the oratorical ability, the fine dress, the fancy car, the accumulation of wealth, the size of the congregation but too often fail to take note of the condition of the heart.
You can look like you are a devout believer. You can look charitable. You can look successful and may well be by man’s standards, but if in our hearts we are full of dead men’s bones we come short of God’s Glory. Jesus is looking for hearts that are pure before Him and when He finds such hearts, He will develop hands that heal, help, and lift up. Which side does Jesus choose? He always chooses the INSIDE!
God bless you as you go through this wonderful day in Him!