"When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited Him to eat with him; so Jesus went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.
39 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. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone." Luke 11:37-42
Jesus used the cup as a life changing illustration to remind everyone of what life is all about.
The outside of the cup is what we do; work, play, serve, give or our lack of working, playing, serving or giving.
The inside of the cup is who we really are; selfish or selfless, unclean or clean, unrighteous or righteous, building my own kingdom or building God's Kingdom, satisfying myself or satisfying God.
The Religious Leader was watching every move what Jesus did (watching the outside of Jesus' cup). He was shocked that Jesus did not do the custom of washing before eating. Did Jesus care about the outside of the cup? Of course; He said, "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone." Jesus wants all of us to be concerned about both the inside and outside of the cup. I believe He intentionally did not wash so that it would start an extremely important spiritual conversation.
Why did Jesus point out that the Religious Leaders, and everyone human for that matter, focuses on the outside of the cup? Because no human has the power to wash the inside of the cup. All humans are sinners and are dirty on the inside. We are all unrighteous, not perfect, selfish. The only one who can clean the inside is God. That is why one of Jesus' favorite preaching topics was, "The Kingdom of God is near." Jesus is right here. He is the only One who can clean the inside of anyone's life. Because of Jesus' miracle birth, perfect sinless life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection, He and only He has the qualifications and power to clean the insides of our lives of our messy, dirty sinfulness.
When we get to that point of realizing this and asking Jesus to clean the inside of our cup, then we are able to do all the outside of the cup living; truly loving others, serving others, giving to others. In other words, being generous with who we are to everyone we know.
What's up with the cup illustration?
Every time we wash the dishes and every time we look into a cup as we drink from it, we hope that it is clean. May every time we use a cup, Jesus' illustration come to our mind.
Let's bring our lives to Jesus and ask Him to clean our insides. Then let's be willing to join Him in serving, loving and giving to His Kingdom.
How is Jesus helping us to be generous with our time, our talents, our possessions and our money?
Seeking to be clean on the inside and out.
Seeking to let Jesus do His inside life changing thing in me so that I can team up with Him to do life changing things with others.