top of page

Kerry Lytle

April 27, 2024

Matthew 23:27, New Living Translation

"…For you are like whitewashed tombs-beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity."

When Jesus talks about whitewashed tombs, and when we read about whitewashed tombs – it’s all about how our inside is matching up with our outside. So, why does our inside not always match what is even on the outside?


Why are some people referred to as whitewashed tombs? What do their lives look like? What is the reason? It may be the need to be perfect or appear to be perfect, it may be pride, it may be shame. It may be trying to keep up with the person down the street.


Why do people sometimes act that way? Presenting themselves one way and yet inside being another way.


Jesus told the Pharisees that they were like whitewashed tombs. That they made themselves beautiful on the outside while on the inside they were full of death and decay. Aren’t we all guilty of being like this though? The many social media pictures edited with filters and validated by the approval of third-party viewers is a strong temptation for those of us addicted to perfection. 


I don’t think we are subject to this new concept of perfectionism just because we have social media. It has been around for years and years. Perfectionism is only fueled by our ties to social media where even the simplest filter can mask underlying problems. No one wants to see your snap chat surgery pics or a live video of you and your wife screaming at each other, so we are tempted to portray a life that others would want to live instead of their own.


Most of us seek, portray, and promote our ideas of perfection as a defense mechanism. There are a lot of people who look pretty good on the outside. Sometimes they look so good on the outside that they have everyone fooled. Sometimes people look so good on the outside that they even convince themselves.


I am sure that there are, no doubt, people who have attended church their whole life who are whitewashed tombs who have never truly accepted Christ. Lost people who attend just like the saved attend, do everything that the saved do, say everything that the saved say, so much so that on the outside, they easily appear the same. And it’s such a shame, because on the inside that's the furthest from the truth.


Jesus condemned the emphasis on how the outside appears in Matthew 23:25 (NLT), “You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence”. Expressions of love for God had become ways to impress others.


The proof of spiritual maturity is not how “pure” you are but your awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to God’s grace.


For those of us who are Christians, how is our inside matching up to our outside? Or the question might be better for us who are Christian, does our outside match up to our inside? Do our actions match up with our claim to be Christians? I believe they have to. If it is not evident that we are Christians, then are we really? Or are we like the Pharisees of whom Jesus said, they say, but they do not do.


We, as Christians, need to live a life of transparency, knowing it's ok to not be perfect and that there really is only one true perfect One......Jesus!

bottom of page