Lenten Reader | Day 9


When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

-Luke 11:37-41
I think it’s beautiful that Jesus saw an opportunity to teach the Pharisees about what matters more to Him than the outward appearances that the Pharisees were so concerned about. He would have known that it was customary to wash before a meal, but instead of catering to the norm, he used this opportunity to show the importance of being clean inside above outward cleanliness.

How true is it that when we tend to the soul and its purity, the fruits on the outside produce lovely and attractive characteristics of Jesus himself. Think of a ceramic vase with flowers, where you don’t see the water from the outside. That vase is beautiful, but over time the water in it becomes dirty and smelly. After a while the flowers become stiff and dry and they lose their color. If that water inside would have been maintained and cleaned, the life of the flowers would have lasted longer.

Even though we think that beauty comes from outward behavior or being, Jesus is showing us that what flows from the inside – from the heart – is what produces righteousness. “You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?” What a great reminder that the Father cares so much for his creation that he wants the unseen to be held at a higher importance.
Jesus wanted to show them a new way. The Pharisees had spent so much time doing what looked right to please to God, but the truth was that they hadn’t given him their everything.

Jesus wanted to teach them that when they “give” or “do” in the fullness of their heart, it overflows to the outside. How do you feel God drawing you to live a life more devoted to flowing out of the abundance of his heart? How can we focus on the cleanliness of our hearts over doing the “right” things?

-Chloe Miller