The Cup and the Platter

Matthew 23: 25-26. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

Again, Jesus pointed out the importance to the Pharisees of having a “clean” outward appearance while harboring extortion and excess in their hearts.

Extortion: The practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. The victims of the extortion of the Pharisees were the common people who could ill afford  the heavy fines and tithes that were laid on them. The threats involved fulfilling every jot and tittle of the law, both that which was clearly given by God, and the oral, traditional law developed and handed down over the centuries that often had very little to do with God’s law.

Excess: Crossing over the boundaries of that which is normal, healthy, and necessary. Some of the excess included the ritual washing of dishes that were used for food.  So many washings, so many rinses, cleansing of the hands before and after the cleansing of the platters and cups. And yet, the inside of the Pharisees’  “cups” were filthy. Only the outside, that other people saw, was important to them.

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