Jesus and the Pharisees. Cleaning the outside, but not the inside


While listening to today’s readings at Mass today, I was struck by how the errors of the Pharisees seemed to be much like some protestant/Bible Christians believe.
Do some (not all) Bible Christians say that we are covered in the blood of Christ, and that basically God only sees that cleansed person? Like we are covered in some white glow of Christ, or something?
It sounds to me very much like Jesus was condemning the idea of the outside being cleansed, and that the purity of the heart was still necessary. This is the RCC teaching about purgatory, that very few of us die with our souls in a pure enough condition to stand before the Lord. But, while I admit that many sincere Christians strive for holiness, they deny what Christ is teaching here; namely, that it is necessary to have the insides purified, too.
Am I connecting the dots as clearly in type as they seem in my head?


I came to that exact conclusion, that is how classical Protestantism views justification.
(Mat 23:25-27)


I have noticed the same thing a long time ago…

I wonder why no one else seems to point out that Jesus seemed to condemn the very same thing in the parable that Martin Luther taught.


I’ve heard both terms in the Baptist world at least. I’ve heard being “washed in the blood” and also being “covered” by the righteousness of Christ. I never thought of it in the context of the interaction of Jesus and the Pharisees.

I wonder if being washed in the blood means an inward cleansing as opposed to just outward appearance? (the Holy Spirit making you a new creature in Christ)

Maybe just a problem of terminology in this case.



As a family we read the daily gospel reading. We’ve tried to read all the daily readings as a family but the children who are 5 and 6 get overwhelmed by all the readings. So we’ve trimmed it down to just reading the daily gospel reading.

When we are done reading I ask the kids, “What does it mean?” At first the DS said it means that you have to wash dishes all the time and not have a sink full of dirty dishes. DD said it mean you had to make sure the inside and outside of the cup was clean too.

Okay so they picked up on the reference of washing a cup and a dish. I then said but Jesus is talking about more then some dishes he’s talking about people and reread this part “You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?”

I asked, “Who made us?” DD: God.
What’s on the outside? DS: Our body
What’s in the inside of us? DD: Blood; DS: Bones

What part of us goes to heaven when we die? DS: Our Soul!
Right our body is our outside and our soul is our inside. Jesus said we have to clean both. (Remember they felt that Jesus was saying you have to make sure all the dishes are clean inside and out)

DD: That means we have to take baths!

Right, we take baths to clean our outside, our bodies. How do we clean our soul?

DS: Go to confession!! We have to go to confession!!

So that’s what my 6 year old and 5 year old got out of yesterday reading:

  1. We must always wash our dishes and NOT have dirty dishes in the sink.
  2. We have to make sure the whole dish/cup is clean. The outside and inside of the dish/cup.
  3. We have to take baths and
  4. We have to go to confession

I think they are right!

Edit: I just realize that not everyone reading this would know exaclty what passage we are talking about. It’s Luke 11:37-41




Your thinking is right on and you have connected the dots quite nicely. I ran into this thinking quite a few years ago when hanging around with some non-denominational Protestants. They claim they are covered by the Blood of Jesus, and God sees us through that covering of His Bood. The problem with this is that our sin still remains. Catholics, OTOH, believe that we are cleansed by the Precious Blood. God purifies us from the inside so that when we are fully purified, the stain of that sin is GONE, not just covered up. He makes us perfect, and Jesus then can present us (the Church) to the Father as His SPOTLESS Bride.
This is the action of God Himself, not our action. We have to cooperate and allow Him to make us pure and holy. So our sins are not covered, they are totally forgiven and cleansed from our souls. A much better “deal”, so to speak.


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