In the 23rd chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus was teaching the multitudes. Jesus was speaking of the pharisees and their ways which were contrary to the love of God. Jesus continued on to inform the masses and challenge the pharisees on how spiritually dangerous their teachings and negative discipleship was to their followers. The Holy Spirit impressed this scripture and it’s application to our world, to me so strongly that I started a series of messages from it on my online ministry. The title “Whitewashed Tombs” comes from the 27th verse of chapter 23 of Matthew. Jesus, uses this title to the listening pharisees this day and likens them to “Whitewashed Tombs”. Jesus explains that the pharisees, their motives, their teaching, their representation of God…is beautiful on the outward appearance but on the inward, it is nothing but death and uncleaness. The pharisees were adorned in beautiful robes and regalia fitting for a king. I liken them to an old Catholic Church in appearance. Breathtakingly beautiful and screaming “Glory Hallelujah”. What one would look upon and say, “There is Life”. Jesus, however taught that when one is expecting to find “Life”, there is no life there. Only a direction which leads people away from God, unto their own agendas.
I am directed in my mind to the words of Jesus in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have “Life” and have it more abundantly”. We preach a message of “Good news”, the Gospel of a risen Savior. One who loved us so much, that He lay down His life for us. God chose this way to reconcile us unto Himself and thereby, breathe “Life” into our spirit and souls. Jesus, however warns us about a force, a belief, a teaching and actions which will steal that “Life” from us and bring the opposite of spiritual death. We see this as Jesus warns us in Matthew 16:6. “Then Jesus said to them (disciples), Take heed and beware of the leaven (spirit) of the Pharisees and Sadducees”.
Prior to this, the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign from heaven, testing Him. Jesus responded by addressing the real issue…that of religious games before a Holy God. Jesus proclaimed that generation, those who cared about appearance, those who proclaim God but their hearts were far from Him, those who were leading others astray…were wicked and adulterous. Does this sound familiar to us? I would wager that only a minute percentage (if any) were striving for wicked and adulterous. So how did they come to this point. How did they become likened unto “Whitewashed Tombs”?
Leaven cannot be seen with the eye once the dough is formed. The dough is formed through a process of roling and needing the ingredients together. Much like how our beliefs and morals are formed. What is very important in this illustration is that there is but one way to know if leaven is in the dough. When the heat is applied and the temperature rises, the dough will rise if there is leaven. Different people add to our beliefs and ideals. We must, as Jesus pointed out…”Beware” of the leaven. A little leaven gets through the entire dough (lump) and causes all of the dough to react. Leaven of the Pharisees acts much the same way. Things we previously were convicted of, we are not now and vice versa. We all have seen compromise within churches in this generation. We have seen Gods word being watered-down to make the Gospel more “Culturally Acceptable”. We are called to “Rightly divide the word of truth” in 2nd Timothy, not to strive for a popularity contest. I am prepared to be hated by the world but NOT to be dead to God.