Appearances are deceiving. Some mushrooms sautéed in butter are quite delicious and leave a delicate lingering aftertaste, and some mushrooms will have you in the graveyard with lingering aftertaste of, “How foolish could I have been”! Some snakes are exquisitely detailed with vibrant colors and patterns that are very pleasing to the eye and some are the color of dirt. The difference is that some snakes are harmless and some can kill with a single drop of venom. Seeing what’s on the inside can be a terrific advantage. People are often the most challenging specimens. It’s not easy to discern whether someone’s a ‘new friend’ or wants to rob you and leave you for dead.
Everyone has to learn to be a good judge of another’s character. Politicians have always been under suspicion because of their proximity to money and power. What lies just under the surface can suddenly swallow a person whole. Just ask Jonah. In Jesus’ day there were many who appeared to be one thing but in reality were something totally foreign. Common people had some difficulty with discernment, but not Jesus. He looked at their hearts and intentions. And some were revolting!
On one particular occasion Jesus called a spade a spade and the crowd loved it, but those He addressed weren’t so impressed with His description of them. Jesus was talking to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees. In Matthew 27, He let the people listening see what was really on the inside of these ‘holy’ men. Jesus said that everything they do is done for men to see. He said they are full of pride and love the attention of others. Jesus said they were hypocrites, blind guides, and blind fools! He said they were full of greed and self-indulgence. Jesus said they were like whitewashed tombs, which looks beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. He said they were snakes; a brood of vipers!
Jesus sees what’s on the inside of everybody. If you started peeling, what would the world see?
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans,
for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them, for your Father knowswhat you need before you ask.”