Brief Bible study on Mat. 23:25-26

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“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. [26] Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

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Jesus knew the hearts of these Pharisees and teachers of the law. Maybe these religious leaders were focused on the outside appearance, something they and others could see. But that outside appearance didn’t change what was in thier hearts and that is where the real issues lie. 

With that in mind, here are three questions:

1.) How does a person get into this state where they focus only on the outward appearance?

2.) What does it take for God to get our attention and get us to focus on the inner life and our relationship with Jesus? 

3.) How can we keep the inside and the outside of the cup of our heart clean, or is that Jesus’ job?



  1. After that exhortation, he explains it another way in 27-28…
    I’m using that ,too, for context.
    Matthew 23:27-28 NIV
    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. [28] In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.Matthew 23:25-26 NIV

    1. In the time of Jesus, it was the Scribes and Pharisees, so worried about projecting a righteous image, but not to serve God but to secure a place of honor for themselves. They cared little for the poor, nor did they have interest in anything but their own comfort and esteem.
    In the world today, we face similar problems. It’s still all about image. People are seduced by our popular culture and many drift far from the teachings of Christ. Loving and serving the Lord takes a back seat to keeping up appearances. Now, it’s about being thin, being popular on social media, being self sufficient and intellectual, having the right clothes, the right eyebrows, car, job, phone and shoes…it’s different yet it’s the same. If Jesus came to walk among us today, He would have many of the same challenges he did 2000 years ago. There is and always has been concern with image over all else.

    2. Sadly, God sometimes has to wait until someone hits a personal bottom, or maybe even a life crisis or tragedy before they realize their need and longing for Him. Their need for a true love…a savior. As long as they are OF this world, they will continually hit a brick wall trying to be their own salvation. I’ve seen God get people’s attention in some pretty interesting ways. Sometimes, people find God in something so beautiful and truly good that they realize this world cannot explain it! God is patient and God is God, if He wants someone, He’ll get them!

    3. It isn’t just Jesus’ job, although, in His grace, He meets us more than halfway. But, as stated in Luke 12:48, to whom much is given, much is expected. We are called and when we truly belong to God, His Holy Spirit gives us gifts, special talents that we use in collaboration with Him to further the Kingdom in some way. We also have that same Spirit to guide, teach, exhort us. If we are right with God and following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, then we will be keeping our cup clean inside and out…not because we can but because He can. So, Christ in us will help us. Sure, we’re sinners, we’ll always need a savior to keep us on track…but if we ask His aid, He will help us.

    1. Good job adding the context with the other verses and as applied to people today. You are right that we do have a part to play in discovering, using, and developing our gifts, under the authority of Christ. With His help, we can do this because He is the one in charge.

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