Matthew 23:26
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) That the outside of them may be clean also.—The implied premise is that “uncleanness” in its ethical sense was altogether distinct from the outward uncleanness with which the Pharisees identified it. If the contents of the cup were pure in their source and in their use, they made the outside “clean,” irrespective of any process of surface purification.

23:13-33 The scribes and Pharisees were enemies to the gospel of Christ, and therefore to the salvation of the souls of men. It is bad to keep away from Christ ourselves, but worse also to keep others from him. Yet it is no new thing for the show and form of godliness to be made a cloak to the greatest enormities. But dissembled piety will be reckoned double iniquity. They were very busy to turn souls to be of their party. Not for the glory of God and the good of souls, but that they might have the credit and advantage of making converts. Gain being their godliness, by a thousand devices they made religion give way to their worldly interests. They were very strict and precise in smaller matters of the law, but careless and loose in weightier matters. It is not the scrupling a little sin that Christ here reproves; if it be a sin, though but a gnat, it must be strained out; but the doing that, and then swallowing a camel, or, committing a greater sin. While they would seem to be godly, they were neither sober nor righteous. We are really, what we are inwardly. Outward motives may keep the outside clean, while the inside is filthy; but if the heart and spirit be made new, there will be newness of life; here we must begin with ourselves. The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was like the ornaments of a grave, or dressing up a dead body, only for show. The deceitfulness of sinners' hearts appears in that they go down the streams of the sins of their own day, while they fancy that they should have opposed the sins of former days. We sometimes think, if we had lived when Christ was upon earth, that we should not have despised and rejected him, as men then did; yet Christ in his Spirit, in his word, in his ministers, is still no better treated. And it is just with God to give those up to their hearts' lusts, who obstinately persist in gratifying them. Christ gives men their true characters.Cleanse first that which is within the cup and the platter - Let them be filled with the fruits of honest industry, and then the outside and the inside will be really "clean." By this allusion to the cup and platter he taught them that it was necessary to cleanse the heart first, that the external conduct might be really pure and holy. 26. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also—In Luke (Lu 11:40) it is, "Ye fools, did not He that made that which is without make that which is within also?"—"He to whom belongs the outer life, and of right demands its subjection to Himself, is the inner man less His?" A remarkable example this of our Lord's power of drawing the most striking illustrations of great truths from the most familiar objects and incidents in life. To these words, recorded by Luke, He adds the following, involving a principle of immense value: "But rather give alms of such things as ye have, and behold, all things are clean unto you" (Lu 11:41). As the greed of these hypocrites was one of the most prominent features of their character (Lu 16:14), our Lord bids them exemplify the opposite character, and then their outside, ruled by this, would be beautiful in the eye of God, and their meals would be eaten with clean hands, though much fouled with the business of this everyday world. (See Ec 9:7). Luke hath this, Luke 11:39,40, as occasioned by the Pharisees wondering that he washed not before dinner; instead of extortion and excess, he hath ravening and wickedness, and addeth, Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But the same thing might be spoken at two several times. He speaks there to the Pharisee, with whom he dined, Matthew 23:37. Here he speaks to the disciples and the multitude. Our Saviour’s design here seemeth to me not to be a condemning of their legal or traditional washings of pots and cups, which he elsewhere reflects upon, but, by way of allusion only, to blame them that in their whole conversation they rather studied an external purity, than the inward purity of the heart, whereas if they would first have looked at purity of heart, the other would have followed that. A man may be outwardly pure, and inwardly filthy and impure; but no man can have a pure heart, but he will live a pure and holy life, for the external acts are but the impure acts of the soul: Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, and according to the inclinations and affections of the heart the foot moveth, the hand and all the bodily members act. For our Saviour’s application of this to their traditional washings, I shall speak to it when I come to Luke 11:39.

Thou blind Pharisee,.... Well might Christ call such an one a blind Pharisee, who was so scrupulously careful to cleanse his cup and platter; and yet made no conscience of filling them with what was gotten in an unjust way, and so defiled himself and them:

cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also: get food and drink in an honest way, remove all extortion and oppression out of thine hands, and luxury and intemperance from thy table; and so shall the outward cleanness of thy cup and dish, be no reproach unto thee, or testimony against thee, of thine hypocrisy. So the great concern of all men should be, inward purity; that their hearts be purified by faith in the blood of Christ, and sprinkled from an evil conscience by the same; that principles of grace and holiness be formed in them by the Spirit of God; and then their outward lives and conversations being influenced thereby, will be honourable and agreeable to their professions. Otherwise, an external reformation, or an outward show of holiness, and bare pretensions to it, without internal grace, will never be of any avail in the sight of God.

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 23:26. Καθάρισον πρῶτον, κ.τ.λ.] i.e. let it be your first care (πρῶτον, as in Matthew 6:33, Matthew 7:5, and elsewhere), to see that the wine in the cup is no longer procured by extortion and exorbitance.

ἵνα γένηται, κ. τ. γ.] not: “ut tum recte etiam externae partes possint purgari,” Fritzsche, but with the emphasis on γένηται: in order that what you aim at may then be effected, viz. the purity of the outside as well,—in order that, then, the outside of the cup also may not merely appear to be clean through your washing of it, but may actually become so, by losing that impurity which, in spite of all your cleansing, still adheres to it (which it contracts, as it were, from its contents), simply because it is filled with that which is procured through immoral conduct. The external cleansing is not declared to be unnecessary (de Wette), nor, again, is it intended to be regarded as the true one, which latter can only be brought about after the purifying of the contents has been effected. Bengel fitly observes: “alias enim illa mundities externa non est mundities.” That which is insisted on with πρῶτον is to be attended to in the first place.

Matthew 23:26. φαρισαῖε τυφλέ: change from plural to singular with increased earnestness, and a certain friendliness of tone, as of one who would gladly induce the person addressed to mend his ways.—καθάρισον: if ἐξ, Matthew 23:25, is taken = by, then this verb will mean: see that the wine in the cup be no more the product of robbery and unbridled desire for other people’s property (Weiss and Meyer). On the other view, that the cup is filled with these vices, the meaning will be, get rid of them.—ἵνα γένηται, etc., in order that the outside may become clean. The ethical cleanness is conceived of as ensuring the ceremonial. Or, in other words, ethical purity gives all the cleanness you need (“all things are clean unto you,” Luke 11:41). Practically this amounts to treating ceremonial cleanness as of little account. Christ’s way of thinking and the Pharisaic were really incompatible.

26. that which is within the cup] Rather, the inside of the cup. Cp. Mark 7:4.

Matthew 23:26. Καθάρισον, cleanse) sc. by removing rapacity by almsgiving. See Luke 11:41.—πρῶτον, κ.τ.λ., first, etc.) This may also be applied to the matter of decorum.—ἵνα, κ.τ.λ., in order that, etc.) for otherwise that outward cleanliness is not cleanliness.

Verse 26. - Thou blind Pharisee. The address is in the singular number, to give vividness and personal effect, and the epithet accentuates the absurdity censured. Cleanse first that which is within. They must learn to reverse their practice. If you wanted to have your food pure, you would clean the inside of your vessel more carefully than the outside. The external purity should proceed from and be a token of the internal. So in the case of the moral agent, the ceremonial purity is a mockery and hypocrisy unless it be accompanied by holiness of the heart. That the outside of them may be (γένηται, may become) clean also. However fair to see, the man is not pure unless his soul is clean; he cannot be called pure while the higher part of his being is soiled and foul with sin. And inward saintliness cannot be hidden; it shines forth in the countenance; it is known by speech and action; it sheds sunshine wherever it gees. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Matthew 23:26
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