the spiritual dead

You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! ... Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. [Matthew 23:25,27 NLT]

Jesus continues his rebuke of religious leaders and what he means when he says 'hypocrisy'.
In both illustrations he compares the things that are unseen to those that are seen.
In graphic language Jesus says that these leaders are spiritually dead.

I cannot think of a harsher condemnation of a religious leader.
Their hypocrisy is that they do 'spiritual' things but have no spiritual life on the inside.
Their words and actions do not come from within but from without.

Sadly, such ways did not die out in the first century.
Still today we hear reports of religious leaders doing despicable things.
Words and actions that evidence the absence of inner spiritual life.

These all appear to be legitimate religious leaders on the surface.
But on the inside they are filled with greed and self-indulgence.
They personify hypocrisy and project a faith that is bereft of spiritual life.

Lord, help my life to reflect the beautiful new heart you have formed in me.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.


  1. A big amen to this... So thankful for my "new" heart.

  2. It is so easy to get caught up in external things. I find I can judge both myself and others based on the external show rather then what is in the heart. It is easy to focus on the superficial and miss the real issues.


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