What does Matthew 23:26 mean?
ESV: You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
NIV: Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
NASB: You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may also become clean.
CSB: Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside of it may also become clean.
NLT: You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.
KJV: Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Verse Commentary:
Yet again, Jesus calls the Pharisees blind (Matthew 23:16–17, 19). He has condemned them for putting on a show of religiosity while having selfish hearts. This is as absurd and disgusting as cleaning the outside of cups and plates while the insides are filthy. Jesus' continual description of them as "blind" reveals they lacked even the ability to see the truth for what it was. They did not have the capacity to lead the people well because they refused to see what was right in front of them (John 5:39–40).

Instead of trying to appear pious while letting selfishness run unchecked in their hearts, they should clean themselves up on the inside. A clean-minded person will naturally act in clean ways (Matthew 15:11). If the Pharisees sincerely rejected greedy attitudes and appetites, they would naturally become known as selfless, servant-hearted men. Instead, they pretended to be holy while continuing to serve themselves in every way they could get away with.

The imagery of something pretty on the outside, but repugnant on the inside, will be given an even more dramatic use in the next verses (Matthew 23:27).
Verse Context:
Matthew 23:13–36 contains seven layers of condemnation, from Jesus, towards the religious leaders of His era. Each of these is introduced with the word "woe," which is an exclamation like "oh!" or "alas!" Pronouncing God's judgment on these men, He repeatedly describes them as "blind" and "hypocrites." Convincing others of their views only adds victims to hell. They follow the letters of manmade law to the tiniest detail but miss the real meaning of Scripture: God's heart for justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Their outer appearance of righteousness hides inner lives full of greed, self-indulgence, hypocrisy, and lawlessness. Those in Jesus' generation will pay for many of the righteous people unjustly killed in the past.
Chapter Summary:
After thoroughly dismantling scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees in debate, Jesus even more thoroughly condemns these religious leaders for their religious hypocrisy. They do all their religious acts and works to be seen and approved of by other people. Jesus pronounces God's judgment on the scribes and Pharisees in a series of seven "woe to you" statements. He repeatedly calls them "blind" and "hypocrites." He concludes with a lament for Jerusalem and her children who rejected His protection. God's judgment is coming.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 23 concludes Matthew's multi-chapter account of all of Jesus' interactions in the temple during the last week before His arrest and crucifixion. After silencing the religious leaders with parables and brilliant responses (Matthew 21—22), He pronounces God's judgment on the scribes and Pharisees in a series of seven "woe to you" statements. Jesus mourns for the judgment that will come on Jerusalem for her rejection of God. This leads Jesus to leave the temple, sadly remarking on its impending destruction (Matthew 24:1–2). As the disciples ask about this, Jesus begins an extended teaching on the end times in chapter 24.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/17/2024 8:09:33 PM
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