Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 23:27-28 ESV
The passage from Matthew 23:27-28 is a scathing critique of the scribes and Pharisees by Jesus Christ. He accuses them of being hypocrites who only care about their outward appearance and not their inward condition. This passage highlights the importance of a faith that is practical and not just visible. It also highlights the difference between visible morality and the inner desires to please God.
The scribes and Pharisees were known for their strict adherence to the law and their outward displays of piety. They would pray loudly in public, wear elaborate clothing, and perform other religious rituals to show off their righteousness. However, Jesus calls them out for being like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside but filled with decay and impurity on the inside.
This passage shows that it is not enough to be outwardly moral or religious. It is important to have an inner desire to please God and live a life that is consistent with that desire. A faith that is only visible is not true faith at all. True faith must be accompanied by a genuine desire to do what is right, not just for show, but because it is the right thing to do.
The scribes and Pharisees failed to understand this, and their hypocrisy was evident to Jesus. They were more concerned with how they looked to others than they were with pleasing God. This passage challenges us to examine our own hearts and motives. Do we do what is right because we genuinely desire to please God, or do we do it to impress others?
In conclusion, the passage from Matthew 23:27-28 emphasizes the importance of a faith that is practical and not just visible. It challenges us to focus on our inner desires to please God and not just our outward appearance. We must strive to live a life that is consistent with our faith and be sincere in our desire to do what is right, not just for show. May we learn from the mistakes of the scribes and Pharisees and seek to cultivate a genuine and lasting faith.


  • Am I more concerned with how others perceive me than with pleasing God?


  • Do I find myself going through the motions of religious practice without a genuine desire to please God?
  • Is my faith only visible, or does it manifest in the way I treat others and live my life?
  • Have I ever caught myself being hypocritical, saying one thing and doing another?
  • Do I prioritize my inner desires to please God over outward appearances and cultural norms?
  • Have I ever tried to justify my actions or attitudes that were contrary to my faith?


Christian Delacruz is an elder in training at Emmanuel Bible Church in South New Jersey, where he exhibits a deep passion for the Reformed faith. Christian is married to his beloved wife, Cristina Rivera, and they have been blessed with twin boys, CJ and Isaac, and a baby girl, Chloe. Currently, Christian is a student at Spurgeon College, where he is pursuing his theological education to deepen his understanding of the Christian faith.