saying-89; not the cup’s outside!



if you want to experience what he meant

saying- 89; not the cup's outside!




(latest updat: 30-04-2018)











Jesus says,

Why do you wash the outside of the cup?

Do you not realize that he who made the inside

is the same one who made the outside?






The Talmud allowed a cup to be considered ritual purified when only the outside was

cleansed with water, whereas the inside could superficially be cleaned with

only a towel (Quispel, 2004). As such, this saying may be taken as Jesus protesting against

the nitpicking purity rules of the law, although Quispel (2004) finds

such stance unlikely. However, it is clear from various sayings that Jesus abhorred the piety

regulations as these created a sharp division amongst people, considering many as not acceptable

in the eyes of God, and consequently, even less so in the eyes of man. As Thompson (2005) pointed

out, "for Leviticus (21:17-23) “the blind and the lame” are a collective trope for those who are not

allowed to come close to Yahweh…they are unclean”. Spong (2007) argues that it is exactly

those diseases which Jesus so often cured in the gospel stories. In addition, Lev. 21:16-20

gives a whole list of “unclean” kind of people: The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron: ‘For the

generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the

food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame,

disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf,

or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.

No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food

offerings to the Lord. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God.



Caring for "the outside" is useless in search for the kingdom; it only distracts from the

appropriate way of seeking. Certain manners of outward show and behaving (including the

observance of rules, rites, and rituals) as signs of religious prestige may be alluded to here,

and they are of no use whatsoever. It is the right inner aptitude that counts. I think Jesus

touches here upon a fundamental issue in his teachings: adherence to the

Law and its derived regulations only requires an outward display of the proper behavior - the

cup's outside, which is not bad but which will not bring one any closer to the divine. Jesus

proclaims that it is not regulation-fulfilling proper behavior which counts, but an authentic,

devoted mental dispossession to be good people - the cup's inside. Allison (1998)

states: "Jesus relativizes the traditional teaching or practice by turning attention

to something more fundamental....(which) is one's inner condition as opposed to

an outward activity or circumstance"....."and this implicitly highlights the limitations of

the Torah". More specifically the saying may hint at the purifying ritual: cleansing the body is

of little use, when it is rather the mind that should be purified. Uro (2000) presents several

passages from Qumran scriptures with a similar message. Jesus might have been acquainted

with these, but we don’t no. Allison argues that such Jesus' strategy was inspired by his

self-conscious mission as an eschatological prophet, a presumption I cannot share. I think

it was somethingfundamentally different which prompted Jesus to both his behavior

and his teachings.


The Law was provided to bridle a stubborn human race, which, however, was originally

created "in God's image". Jesus wants us to "get back to the garden"!

No law whatsoever is of avail to that end. Besides, the Hebrew Law had created a distressing

and unworthy divisive between people, something that Jesus in his universal compassion,





Cleansing the cup's outside (living by the Torah) came first; Jesus' teachings came

last. Saying 4 and 89 have something in common, I guess.



Seeking the kingdom,

you should at least behave according to the

‘cleansed inside of your cup’,

which means to try and become just an authentically good person.






Also in:

Matthew 23:25; Luke 11:39.