Sermon 4: Luke 11:37-41; with Mk 7:1-8, 20-23 as background reading. “Cleaning the Inside.”
Questions to consider (these will not necesarily be addressed in the sermon): How do you generally feel about social rituals (lineups, greetings, seating plans etc.)? Usually we are taught to believe Jesus was meek and mild. Is this a meek and mild Jesus? How so, how not? What social ritual does Jesus bypass here (and his disciples in Mk 7)? How does Jesus turn his host’s surprise into a lesson? Does he actually address the reason for his hosts surprise? How? What is his basic challenge to the Pharisees? Can you name an area of church life where you/we might be a lot like Pharisees? In light of what Jesus says here, what does it mean to be spiritual?
In the sermon I used two identical cups as an illustration of what Jesus says in this passage and at the same time as an application to our lives. The one cup had dirt on the outside. The other looked clean on the outside, but proved to be full of muck on the inside, while the ‘dirty on the outside’ cup was actually usable. Jesus says that what is in our hearts counts much more in God’s eyes than what we can manage to look like on the outside. In light of that the church of followers of Jesus is at it’s best when it is known as a gathering of broken, sin tarnished people who know of their need for Grace and how God dispensed it’s cleansing power in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit.