Jesus told this parable to bring conviction to the Pharisees. They did not like it much. “Whited sepulchres” He called them. They wash the outside of the cup but leave the inside unclean.
This is a striking parallel of life in many churches today. They paint this picture of the church as being spotlessly clean to all outward appearances. They promote this idea consistently and relentlessly. They want to show the world
how wonderful the church on earth really is. What they do not want is for anyone to take a look inside the church to see what she is like from that vantage point. Jesus had a look and He saw only ‘dead men’s bones.’ What He saw was putridity, stench. What He saw was not impressive. Is that why churches tend to keep the lid on their own organisations? Not only do they not want outsiders seeing what is really there, they do not want insiders saying what they see – a bit like the British TV quiz show, Catchphrase, where, in order to answer the question correctly, the presenter, Roy Walker, encouraged them by saying, ‘Say what you see.’ That is OK within a TV quiz show, but it is not appreciated by the church. She wants people to see only the clean outside, not her rotten inside.
And, I suppose, who can blame them.