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Monday, September 22, 2014

Washing Dishes

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.[f] Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Matthew 23: 25 & 26

In this day & age, especially, it only makes good sense to wash our dishes, not only on the inside, but the outside as well! Why the outside? Because it is on the outside that may be found some of the worst germs. Especially if we don't wash our hands thoroughly before eating, or even the table before setting it with dishes; you never know what manner of germs may have landed on it between the last meal and this!

What then did Jesus mean by telling the scribes & Pharisees to first make sure the inside of the vessel was clean, and that then the outside would be clean as well? Why did Jesus tell them that 'there is nothing which enters a man from outside which defiles a man, but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man' ( Mark 7:15 ) Is there truly nothing we can eat which will harm us; can we even eat that which is poisonous and it will not defile us?

Obviously, we can see that He was not speaking of eating, or ingesting any physical matter! As Jesus late told His disciples, it was not what entered a man from outside, in essence what he ate, that defiled a man, but that it was that which was already there that defiled a man, and would bring him ultimate harm! This revelation also shed new light on the whole notion of demon-possession or even of the devil ( Satan ) possessing the body of say..........a snake ( serpent )!

The vessel that Jesus referred to in His parabolic teaching to the scribes and Pharisees was themselves! According to Isaiah's prophecy ( 29:13 ), 'these people draw near Me with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, and their fear toward me is taught by the commandment of men'; they tried to keep up a righteous facade, but inside they were 'full of dead men's bones'. In a physical example from today, they were like a dish that sparkled on the outside, but inside was crusted with last night's spoiled milk!

So while it is always best to make sure the outside of the dish is clean as well as the inside, it is best to make sure that our heart is pure, for if our heart is pure, then what we do will be pure! As Jesus said, nothing outside us can defile us ( make us impure ); it is what we do ( from our heart ( from within ), that defiles us!

We must understand though, that while there is truth for today in Jesus' words, His main point in the parable was to reveal to them that it was their unclean conscience, despite their outward ( ritual ) cleansings ( baptisms ), that was bringing the Judgment of God on them! Through His sacrifice for His Body, the Church, Jesus accomplished that cleansing of the inside of His Vessel of Glory; by giving us a pure heart through that cleansed conscience; He has given us the freedom to go through life knowing that we cannot be defiled by associating with 'the world'!

As we Live in Love, then, may what is pure and altogether good always emanate from within, affecting what we do with our hands, and having a positive effect on those with whom we associate, no matter how dirty! May we always exhibit that cleansed conscience, for it is through that exhibition that we will have the cleanest & most sparkling dishes around!

Charles ( Dirty Dishes ) Shank

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