Jesus and Prayer Part 5 – Words and Actions

As we continue to do our best to stay healthy, one important tip is to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, making sure that all parts of hands are washed.

Here is a saying that you may have heard before, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." It was a common phrase used by Christians in the 19th century. It was mentioned in a sermon by John Wesley in the late 1700s and many people think it is from the Bible. But it’s not!

While good hygiene is always important and something that we should continue to maintain, do not forget to be pure in heart. After all, Jesus did say,

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

As a family, take a moment and discuss: what do you think it means to have a pure heart? If our hearts are not pure, what can we do?

Bible Passage: Luke 11:37-42

Items you will need for activity: A piece of paper (any colour), access to YouTube

As a family, read Luke 11:37-42

It is important to understand that Jesus is not trying to promote bad hygiene! The type of hand washing that is mentioned here was a ceremonial washing that had become a tradition by Jesus' day, but it was not required by the Bible. This type of hand washing included using a special pitcher, clean water and reciting a prayer before eating any meal that included bread.

This is the special pitcher, called a “Natla cup” used for the ceremonial hand washing. Written on it in Hebrew is “Al Netilat Yadayim” meaning “to wash the hands.” This particular cup was made by artist Michal Ben Yosef.

On this occasion Jesus was at the home of a Pharisee. The Pharisees were a group of Jewish religious leaders who were often the teachers for the Jewish people. They were known for strictly following the written Law and the Jewish traditions. Jesus had many encounters with them in His ministry and often harshly criticized them, because while they studied God’s law, they did not always practice what God wanted them to do! So, Jesus would correct them.

Jesus used the illustration of washing just the outside of the cup but leaving the inside dirty, to describe how he saw the Pharisees acting. By this, He was saying that they were so focused on looking good on the outside, where people could see them, but they forgot to focus on being 'clean' on the inside - in their hearts, where only Jesus could see what they were really like.

What we see (outside):

- A Pharisee following the ceremonial washing of hands before a meal. (v.38)

- Giving a tithe (tenth) of what they had to God. (v.42)

What Jesus sees about their hearts (inside):

- They fail to be generous to the poor. (v.41)

- They are neglecting justice and the love of God (v.42)

A Good Question: What is a tithe? Why must we give it to God?

The word tithe simply means “tenth,” meaning 10% of what you receive. We first see the reference to it when Melchizedek, who was a king and priest of God, blesses Abram, and then in response Abram gives him a tenth of everything. (Genesis 14:18-20)

We know that everything we have comes from God and as such, God commanded that the first ten percent (tithe) of what we receive must be given to Him, as it is His. (Lev 27:30-34)

Later, in Malachi, we read that some people were not giving their full tithes to God, and God reminds them that if they give what they should to God, God would always bless them with more than they need. (Malachi 3:8-12)

I have often been asked about how someone can have their needs met, when they give their first 10% to God? I always respond the same way; it is “God’s math." That is to say, giving the first 10% to God always goes farther, and provides you with more than if you kept the full amount for yourself.

Jesus wanted the Pharisees to continue to give what they had to God but more importantly, He wanted all people to ensure that they were doing things with the right intentions and not forgetting other important things, like showing God’s love and helping those in need.

As a family, discuss some ways you can use what God has given you, to show God’s love to others (hints: prayer, teaching others what you learned, etc.).

Remember, while we will make mistakes, we have our Heavenly Father and Jesus as the perfect example of what to do and how to change. When we have fallen short of what God has asked of us, don’t forget that this is why Jesus came. To save us from our sins and set us free!

Today, I want us to think of the cup. It is a powerful symbol that is seen often in the Bible. We read today about how we must not be so concerned about the outside (what can be seen) that we forget about cleaning the inside (our heart).

Another usage of the cup is found when we celebrate Communion. There, the cup represents the blood that Jesus shed for us, for the forgiveness of our sins and to make us clean.

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” – Matthew 26:27-29


You are going to make an origami cup, but before you make it, I would encourage you to decorate your paper first. Remember to do both sides, because you will not only see the outside but also the inside of the cup!

Cup instructions here.

And if you paper isn’t square to begin with, the link below shows you how to tear the paper to make sure it is the right size before you start folding.

Another cup here.

God Bless!

Pastor Greg

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