Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
8. The Sixth Woe
(Matthew 23:25-26)
25“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.26Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. (Mark7:4,8; John9:40, Titus1:15)


The practice of the Pharisees, in their homes, was to clean the outside of every cup and dish. This was not for health reasons, but as a religious duty; otherwise they might become impure if the dirt of an impure man or animal landed on their dishes. They were more concerned with this ritual of cleanliness than whether the drinks they poured into the cups were stolen, or whether they themselves had become unclean through adultery. When Jesus condemned this practice, He canceled all the purification rituals. He instructed the hypocrites to clean their hearts from every bad intent. Then, having done that, they might care for outside cleanliness as well. Outside bodily cleanliness does not signify sanctification of the mind, and beautiful clothes can hide an evil-minded person.
Every cleaning and ablution is superficial, for it does not clean the spirit of man. All religions realize that man is not pure within, and needs purification. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can purify us from every sin. The Holy Spirit then sanctifies man so that he who believes in Christ obtains a new heart and a right spirit within.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, You guided Your prophet David to cry out in repentance, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." We repeat his prayer and confess that there is no hope in us to obtain heavenly purity except through the blood of Jesus Christ and being born again of the Holy Spirit. Grant that our nation, particularly the believers, may truly repent, and not satisfy themselves with their own righteousness, but seek Your justification and divine sanctification. Help everyone who searches for a clean heart to find Jesus, who has completed salvation for all.
Question
What was the fault of the Scribes and Pharisees who emphasized the cleaning of cups and dishes more than necessary?