In Luke chapter eleven, verses 37 through 41, we are told, “As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table. His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom. Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, so you will be clean all over.”
Jesus continues, “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”
Here is another example of Jesus trying to get the religious authorities of his day to shift their focus off of so much adherence to religious ritual and instead to focus on human beings, and love and mercy. Jesus’ primary command to us is to love one another, and elsewhere in the Gospels he tells the authorities that he wants them to show mercy.
He clearly is frustrated that they are hung up on religious ritual so much at the expense of mercy toward their fellow human beings. He just wants them to focus on what is important, which is showing his and God’s love to other beings. God and Christ are both love itself, and those that represent them should embody this trait above all others. Christ knew this better than anyone, being God’s son, and he tries to impart to them the reasoning they need to understand his message of love.
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