Luke 11:37–41 (ESV)
Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers (Part 1)
Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the
cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.
this section is a bigger article and needs to be broken down. I tried using the whole section and well... as you are aware, it never got published yesterday. I just wasn’t happy with it. So I’m breaking it down. Growing
up as a kid, I will always remember my Mom telling me to go wash my hands before you eat. This is a good practice because we are exposed to all kinds of germs. As a pastor, I wash my hands when I enter a hospital room to do a visitation.
I also wash them on the way out. It is also good practice to wash your hands before you leave the bathroom. I don’t like it when I’m at a restaurant and see a sign in the bathroom “All Employees must wash their hands”
and I watch an employee leave without washing their hands.
So, is Jesus being unclean when he does not wash his hands before eating? “The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner.”
Jesus is using this as a teaching moment. The laws pertaining to washing of hands was a ceremonial law to purify something that had been defiled. It was meant for priests, not for the lay people. It was not a hygienic law, but
a ceremonial washing. Jesus did not fulfill the ritual hand washing expected by his host. Though Mosaic Law did not require lay people to perform such ritual washings before meals, the tradition of the Pharisees did. Accordingly, this is yet another
instance of a Pharisee finding fault with Jesus’ observance of ritual
This washing is to make something spiritually pure. Jesus is already pure, he has no sin. In this case, he does not need to comply. Jesus points out that
they are more concerned about outward appearances than what is in the heart. Jesus is exposing their heart problems.
I pray: O Lord, help me to not be superficial and to be concerned about outward appearance and not concerned about
inward behavior. You created me inside and out, and I give thanks for your spiritual washing of Baptism. I have been baptized and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Help me to tame the old Adam, the fallen man within me, and help me to walk according
to your ways. Let my outward and inward appearance and ways be God pleasing. I give thanks that you have washed my sins away and restored me into the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.